If something really moves us from within, it is the curiosity and desire to know about new things, worlds, and experiences. Curiosity arises at the same time as we do and it goes through life with us: the moment we feel that nothing can motivate us to continue learning, we have a problem that is worth taking seriously.
This is the great reason why the Portuguese writer Saramego told us that “old age begins when curiosity ends.” In other words, we tend to combine youth with vitality and a desire to enjoy the world without borders, while oldness we equate with satisfaction with life and loss of interest in discovering something new in the things around us…
Curiosity: a defining characteristic of children
You’ve probably noticed that children , especially when they’re youngest, have a desire to know extremes. They are filled with energy that makes them question everything, want everything, and touch everything that hits their path. This is normal, they are growing up and they want to know where they are and what life actually has to offer them.
Up to a certain point, this is their first step in learning as human beings and we adults are the ones who have a duty to encourage them to allow this curiosity to continue and develop in a positive and intelligent way. It is in this way that we too have learned to maintain our constant curiosity, about the qualities that move us and lead us to cope with challenges: this is what makes us feel young (more like children).
The inverted arc of curiosity
Several studies have been done to gain a more in-depth understanding of human curiosity. Studies have shown in their brevity that we are more curious at times when we know little about a particular topic and want to know everything about it.
In these cases, curiosity can be described as an upside-down U whose starting point arouses our curious desire to feel this aforementioned U in its full extent. This factor is linked to other studies that have shown that curiosity is related to our memory and learning in general : in return, curiosity helps us not to forget what can be called motivated learning.
How to encourage curiosity
In light of all of the above, we can understand why old age is so often believed to contain a lack of curiosity: losing the desire to learn has the result of giving up the meaning of life . It’s important to always keep some degree of curiosity alive within us, like the one that once made us listen through the doors and discover America. Thanks to it, we have made progress in every conceivable field of research.
As we have already said, the best way to encourage this curiosity is by arousing it in its positive part, in children. Here are some ways to do this:
- Developing your imagination : try and let them try, try to transform your daily routine into new “trips” to learn something new every single day.
- Guide with an example: If you want your child to learn something new, follow what you say with an example. If they see that you still have your own curiosity, even about everyday things, they will do the same.
- Answer their questions: There’s no point in answering a child “it’s just like that now,” unless you want to silence them. Try to give them consistent explanations so that these explanations can little by little lead them to ask more questions.
- Let them do things themselves: Children need to know that they can make mistakes and that it is necessary to make them in order to learn and grow. By giving them a chance to understand this, you are also helping them cope with difficult situations and strengthening their creativity.