Many years ago, I taught a session on how many of our popular sayings contradict one another and leave some people in a state of mass confusion. For instance, you have “birds of a feather flock together” and “opposites attract“. Both are correct in different contexts. Friends are great for flocking together. However, you don’t always want to be 100% in sync with a romantic partner as it may create conflict if your self-esteem is based on that similar issue. I could explain more, but I wish to move on and digress elsewhere.
Growing up I was a chatterbox and a natural storyteller. I was an only child for a big chunk of my childhood. Then my sister came along. But our age difference was so vast that I was still somewhat an only child. Because I was such a chatterbox, I often got into heated opinionated conversations. I have learned to calm down that part of me. I still fiercely protect my opinion but I am not pushing it out there all the time. But as I was a chatterbox I also read much and sought out new worlds. By doing so, I was often exposed to to new perspectives and cultures. Which in turn learn to my opinionated nature. I often felt I was better informed than many around me. I was a kid. So, I was naturally self-indulgent. Anyway, there were at times attempts to get me to be a bit more quiet and less opinionated. As a result, I was often told that “curiosity killed the cat.”
What a horrible saying and a possible great killer of spiritedness. It was a saying often used to get people to not look too deeply into things and to mind one’s own business. But it could be quite needlessly discouraging. It is not one of my favorite sayings.
With my son, who is also an only child and quite talkative, I have yet to tell him that curiosity killed the cat. I far prefer to tell him that curiosity is a great thing. I far prefer to tell him “let curiosity be your compass“. I have also tried to instill in him a love of travel and going to new places.
He is, of course, a kid who loves his Xbox and often wants to try to stay home to play his game online with friends. What makes me happy about that is that his online friends are from all over the country and they each try to teach one another about their time zones and local areas. This morning they were talking about who has deer in their backyard as my dog was barking up a storm trying to take on the deer. Because these kids are from all over the place, I coach my son to ask them questions about their lives. Today, they also took sides in the upcoming Rams vs Patriots SuperBowl. We wanted the Saints to win and feel they were robbed but now we will root for the Rams. But I digress. And that is ok. Stream of consciousness may signal lack of attention span to some but to others it can showcase a willingness to go where the conversation organically goes. And hence, perhaps new viewpoints, information, and opportunities. The same can be said for curiosity.
I am trying to advise my son that curiosity is a great thing to have and develop. He should seek new places and experiences. I believe he is a curious boy. Although, it hasn’t quite taken with vegetables yet. Admittedly, however, I will never try to get him to eat Brussels sprouts. If he seeks it out on his own that will be great. But, as for me, I can do without it. Otherwise, curiosity should steer you to new heights if you let it.