“Curiosity killed the cat”. I can’t count how many times I heard that proverb as a child. It was either as a reprimand for trying to stick my nose in other peoples business or for asking questions that were considered well beyond my years. I can tell you though, that I heard it sufficiently to conclude that “it does not pay to be curious”. Taunts like “amebo” or “poky poky” further drove home that message. However the “last nail in the coffin” was when in a room full of 10/11-year-old, my science teacher who I guess must have been frustrated with my numerous inqusitive questions shouted out “Charity, why do you like asking impossible questions?” To say I felt humiliated would be putting it mildly. There and then I told myself “If you don’t want to be humiliated, stop asking this kind of “why”, “what if “ questions. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that my teacher not only didn’t know how to answer my questions, but she also had no idea how to cope with an inquisitive child with a really vibrant imagination. If she handled it differently, who knows I may have founded my version of FaceBook long before Mark Zuckerberg did! (lol)
When it comes to creativity and innovation, having curiosity in the toolbox is extremely helpful. Curiosity fosters learning and can spark great inventions.
Children are naturally curious. They want to know ” why” or “what if”. From as simple as “why can’t I swim in the rain after all I’m already wet?” to “what if I have a wardrobe that could arrange my clothes for me or a robot that can do all my chores?” They are not afraid to question the status quo. As annoying as this incessant questioning can be sometimes, let’s be careful not to take away one of the most important tools they need to foster creativity and innovation – curiosity.” Answer their questions as best and as patiently as you can. Feed their hungry minds; help them find reliable sources to build their knowledge. Allow for safe and healthy exploration and experimenting.
Of course like with anything else in life, balance is key. Our children need to learn to distinguish between healthy curiosity and being intrusive or reckless. They need to learn about boundaries and calculated risks.
You know, I wonder was it really curiosity that killed the cat? Anyway, it doesn’t really matter – this is me just being curious.
At RAVE Et Al, we work with parents, schools and government to provide relevant capacity building programs for children/teens and young adults in the area of values, life skills and digital citizenship education. Our programs equip the younger generation to stay safe and thrive in the real world – offline and online. For further enquiries please send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +2348093159966 or visit www.rave-etal.com.