Friday, July 6, 2012

Encouraging Curiosity

Maybe other parents can relate.  My daughter has an endless stream of questions she wants answered.  A lot of her queries are of a scientific or philosophical nature. Invariably, they are posed to me while in the car.  (please know: I can't multi-task to save my life.  Not only do I not talk on my cell while driving, but I can barely change the radio station).

I often can't answer her questions.  I feel bad saying, "I don't know," or saying wait until daddy gets home to ask him.  Exasperatingly, once the moment has passed, neither of us can remember what she was asking about earlier.  I know I should be encouraging her curiosity instead of quashing it.

Then it occurred to me: why not create a question journal, with a question written on each page.  When we have time - or when I'm not in danger of careening down the off-ramp - we can research the answer together.  Or, if your kids are old enough, teach them to find answers on their own by experimentation, consulting reference books, researching in the library and on the Internet.

Alternately, questions can be written in the notebook and later asked of people with the knowledge and authority to answer them.  i.e. "Who created God?" and "What is a soul?" are queries I might direct to her Sunday school teachers.  In fact, I have.  (Miss Cheryl and Miss Sara - we love you!)

If there is an area in which your kid has a multitude of questions, it would be worthwhile to set aside some time to explore it in-depth.  For instance, a curiosity about sharks (thank you Shark Week!) can be indulged with library books, puzzles, arts and crafts projects, visiting an aquarium...even renting movies.  Age-appropriate ones, that is. (Not Jaws.)

All the better if you can share their interest with them.  Taking their questions seriously validates kids' thoughts, and also teaches them that learning takes effort. 

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