Enjoy and nurture your curiosity.
"Curiosity killed the cat." Are you familiar with this line? Shakespeare wrote something similar to this in his play "Much Ado about Nothing" (1599). The line goes something like this:
What, courage, man! What though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.
On the other hand, I believe that curiosity can add a rich dimension to a person’s life. My curiosity may be one indicator that I am alive and thinking. Yesterday, in The Dallas Morning News, I read an interview with Linda Kao, the director of MBA Global Programs for SMU’s Cox School of Business. She told the interviewer about her own sense of curiosity that is an important part of her life. The interviewer asked her about the travel, numerous business meetings, and the nonstop networking which much be a part of her job. Her reply:
People say they can’t believe my energy. I don’t get tired. I’m too busy. I’m even too busy to get jet lag. And I’m curious. I’ve been on the Great Wall of China no less than 10 times. People say, "It’s just a wall." I say, "No, it’s so fascinating, so intriguing." I’m always curious about everything. (The Dallas Morning News, Sunday Life, November 12, 2006, p. 3)
Yet, some people seem to have lost their sense of curiosity a long time ago. They stick with the familiar, the "reliable," the same ol’ same ol’. They have made peace with their rut. "Why try anything new?" They may have no sense of curiosity about anything! Consequently, they are not eager to learn. They made up their mind (or closed their mind) a long, long time ago.
Unfortunately, such a lack of curiosity has impacted matters of faith. When they read Scripture, they park their questions about life at the door. In fact, they may not even raise questions about Scripture. Perhaps they dutifully read the Bible, but they are not fully engaged.
Meanwhile, people who are fully alive continue to fan the flames of curiosity!
Is your sense of curiosity lying there dormant? Today, as you think about your own sense of curiosity, you might consider the following:
- Consider trying new food or a new restaurant.
- Consider learning something about a new sport. Soccer? Hockey?
- Consider exploring a new subject. What if you were to learn all you could about cooking Mexican or Italian food? What if you were to learn about the trees in your backyard? What if you were to learn about a certain kind of music?
- Consider becoming an "expert" in something. In other words, decide that you want to learn all there is about the history of your city or a subject in the Bible.
- Consider reading the Bible with curiosity. Read the gospels and write down some possible questions. Imagine yourself in these stories. If you had been present for the healing, the teaching, or the telling of the parable, what questions would you have for Jesus?
- Consider listening to a different radio station. Watch something on television intended for another age group. Look on iTunes at the available pod-casts.
Relate to your children with some healthy curiosity. Ask your children questions about their toys, their favorite music groups, or the movies they are seeing. Ask your adult children questions. Perhaps they have gained some experience and knowledge you don’t have. Let their lives stir your curiosity.
When we lived in Kansas City, I heard about a free lunch-time class that the Nelson-Adkins Museum was offering for business people. The subject? "How to Understand and Appreciate Art." The class lasted 12 weeks, meeting each Thursday for an hour. Now I should tell you that I knew nothing — absolutely nothing — about art. I did not even have an appreciation for it. I looked at the ad for this class and thought: "BORING!" (Why would a football/baseball/basketball loving guy like me go to something like this? I would rather find some good Kansas City barbecue! Besides that, surely no one like me would be there, probably just "artsy" types of people. I know, I had an attitude.)
But I thought about it some more and became curious. So, I went. I was surprised. This "boring" class turned out to be a multi-media event featuring a fascinating lecturer, a storyteller. Each Thursday, there were 300-400 in this large auditorium, for an hour, during lunch. (Just regular, normal people were there. Looks like I was wrong again.) So each week, I listened to this woman tell fascinating stories about men and women of different ages and the art that was the result of their lives. Am I an art buff now? No. But the attitude I had a few years ago toward this has changed.
So what is the point? Nurture God-given curiosity. Refuse to let it die! Curiosity is a sign you are still alive.