Holy curiosity is BACK! Let me introduce you to a friend of mine: Annie is a reader and a writer, and someone I’ve enjoyed getting to know over the past couple of months. And the message she brings today is so, SO very important, for our own curiosities should NEVER be outsourced. Read, enjoy and share!
I’ve always been a curious person.
When I was young and had a question, my dad would point me in the direction of his out-of-date set of encyclopedias. Sometimes my question was answered, but more often, I would get sucked into reading about other places and ideas and histories.
As a teacher, I was surrounded by curiosity and in charge of facilitating it in a meaningful way. My days were spent creating activities and lessons that guided my students toward more questions and ideas. I still made time for my own curiosity, through books and travel and cultural events.
And then I became a mom. Everyone knows kids are curious – google it and you’ll find quotes from Walt Disney and Madeleine L’Engle to Eleanor Roosevelt and Albert Einstein about the incredible curiosity of children. Mine are no exception – my three year old explores and questions her world constantly.
As my daughter became more active and more curious, I found myself outsourcing my own curiosity. I was surrounded and enthralled by Bea’s discoveries – who has time to add to that full day? I continued to read and my taste turned more and more toward nonfiction – a way to continue learning, but I didn’t really allow time for my own curiosities. I pushed them into the margins and told myself that one day I’d have time for my own interests again. Today is the day to focus on my kids; to build their own discoveries; to cherish these quickly passing moments.
I’m sure you know where this is going. Outsourcing curiosity is not sustainable or healthy.
In my years as an educator, I would tell parents the importance of reading with and in front of their kids. Yes, it’s important to read with your kids, but it’s also so important for them to see that you value reading. That, unless they see you practicing reading for pleasure, there’s no buy-in to teach them to read for fun. (Reading can be substituted for anything – cooking, hiking, singing – whatever you value and want your kids to value.)
I knew the importance of modeling curiosity but I wasn’t following my own advice. As Bea became more independent, it was easier to add my own interests. I would read in her playroom while she invented games with her toys. Soon she would sit next to me with a stack of books and we’d quietly read side by side. I started a blog and now, she likes to “blog” alongside me.
When our second daughter joined our family last year, I instinctively put aside my own activities. And, in that newborn haze, it was ok. But, as she has become more independent, I am reminded that I need to pursue my own curiosities.
So, I’m learning the art of calligraphy. I’ll never open an Etsy shop, but the act of sitting down, pen in hand, writing the alphabet over and over and over again is soothing and reminds me that pursuing my own curiosity fills me as a person. I set up a craft table in Bea’s playroom (read: table I don’t have to clean up before dinner) and now we sit together working on projects while Elle watches.
Something I’m reminded of again and again is that God created us to be curious. When I hear holy curiosity, I am struck by the fact that this is how we are designed. We are designed to create, to invent, to explore. However that looks and whatever form it takes, the way we draw near to our Creator is to Create.
I’m slowly remembering this and when I make room for my own curiosity, not only do I model this life-giving practice for my daughters, I honor the person I am made to be. And that restores my soul.
Annie Rim lives in Colorado where she plays with her two daughters, hikes with her husband, teaches at an art museum, is part of a longtime book club, and reflects about life & faith here on her blog: annierim.wordpress.com. Though she’s not particularly witty or artsy, for a dose of “real life,” you can connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.