Nurturing The Genius Quality – Curiosity
As I wrote about last Wednesday, Dr. Tom Armstrong identified 12 qualities geniuses have in common. In no particular order, I’ll write about them over the next many Wednesdays. I hope you’re encouraged to look for these qualities in yourself and in your children.
Today’s genius quality is curiosity. Decide how important this quality is to you. Do you want your children to be curious? Why or why not? If it is valuable to you, how can you let your children know? How will valuing curiosity influence your parenting and teaching?
Curiosity: “To ask questions that others judge as irrelevant.”
Dr. Thomas Armstrong
Curiosity is the choice to and ability to ponder and wonder. Allowing children to express their curiosity by asking questions is a key means by which we encourage that quality within them.
Of course, we want children to ask any type of question. But, in the context of geniuses, curiosity shows up in questions that others wouldn’t bother asking.
I’ve met curious geniuses who wonder why milk is white if cows eat green grass. They want to know why quicksand is called “quick” when it’s actually slow. And, as Tina Hollenbeck included in her section of the curiosity chapter in the book we wrote with Brad Sargent, why are crab apples called that and do caterpillars ever trip when they’re walking?
In addition to children asking questions to satisfy their curiosity, we can look for other ways their curiosity shows up.
- Do they dig in the dirt just to see what’s there?
- Do they touch things you ask them not to?
- Do they take things apart because they want to know how they work?
- Do they try using new words, partly to see how you’ll react?
- Have they tried painting with Kool-Aid because they like the colors and want to see if it works?
It can look like these children are disobedient, can’t it? What if I suggested they’re curious instead? Curiosity and the other genius qualities can be quickly shut down if we’re negative every time children experiment.
I’m not giving children permission to be disobedient. We need to teach obedience, expect obedience, and react to disobedience without paralyzing children’s curiosity. It’s a genius quality they’re displaying and developing!