There is a delightful advertisement on TV at the moment showing a small, curly-headed boy, totally absorbed in what he is doing.
He is seen investigating bits of machinery, a flower head, then as he grows, making sure he knows how his bike works and his expression is absolutely focused on each simple, little task.
While words of the charming backing song begin: “Oh, my son, stay curious my boy …”
Curiosity. What a gift for a small child. A lifelong joy and sadly, one which is so often sacrificed in fast moving days of easy electronic entertainment and an often total lack of awareness from those (that’s all of us) charged with helping open up our wonderful world to children.
We were recently watching an 18-month-old trying to put together again one of those complicated boxes which seem to have a dozen sides all slotting in at different points. You have to get it right. This little one was fascinated … until she was whipped away and given her iPad to watch Disney films. Her iPad? She was only a baby for goodness sake and one who fascinated the rest of us by her avowed intent to put the otherwise abandoned box together.
Curiosity for kids. It should be packaged and freely distributed to every human being on the planet, starting with our little ones.
Because the gift of curiosity is a joy at every age and offers a far deeper understanding and promise than any of the ready packaged, all-singing, all-dancing stuff which can cost a modern-day fortune and is abandoned at a whim for the next generation of complicated expertise. Technology is great to inform, to educate, indeed we are powered by it. But anything a child finds which fascinates and intrigues, encourages a healthy curiosity. Don’t ever dismiss that as time wasting.
My father stayed curious until he died at 87. And to the end, you could find him examining an ancient gardening tool, a new-fangled (his words) bit of equipment, identifying a newcomer to the garden’s bird family, the origin of a crossword clue of which he’d never heard.
And if you caught him thus engrossed, his expression was so like that little chap in a 21st century ad for a ferry company (I think). It was a curiosity which lasted for a lifetime. Give ‘em all a cardboard box to put together, I say!
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