By Cara Meredith
I remember hearing the phrase, “Curiosity killed the cat” more than once as a young child – enough to know that if my curiosity got the better of me, if I let it run rampant and take control of the house, the results might not be pretty.
But whose idea was that phrase anyway?
Whose idea was it to seek to reign in curiosity, to put a stop to knowing and growing and exploring?
And whose idea was it to lessen one’s enthusiasm toward finding the answer, toward digging in and really seeking to get to the root of the problem?
So, I’m not having it. I will not let curiosity be curbed. In fact, I’m banning the phrase from even entering the walls of our house altogether.
And I’m so excited to see what happens as a result.
Like you, I’m a mama. I am a woman who wants the best for her two sons, and who desires to be the most real and authentic version of myself, even in – and maybe even especially in – a world that often feels a whole lot messier than it does clean.
But I’m also someone who wants to pry curiosity open with a crowbar. I want to bend and push and morph the metal of not knowing, and teach my boys to do the same.
When my three year old asks why for the fortieth time that day, I desire to indulge his hunger. Because, which of you, if your son asked for a fish would give him a snake instead?
So I answer his questions, as best and as simply as I can. I suppose you could say I give him a fish.
But Mama, why is Pajama Day still a week away? Because today is this Wednesday and Pajama Day is next Wednesday. Why can’t eggshells stay in cookie batter? Because humans don’t eat eggshells, buddy. Why does my ear hurt – because you fell on it – and why can’t I wear flip flops to school – because it’s not allowed – and why do we not eat ice cream cones for lunch – because they’re just for after dinner, after you’ve finished your food.
In seeking to answer his questions, his curiosity, his insatiable hunger, a funny thing happens: I am dared to do the same.
I think about issues of racial justice and reconciliation, and I find myself questioning how I might fit into the bigger conversation. But then I hear stories, and I begin to listen more than I speak, and I realize that my story might someday be a bridge to others who wish to learn and explore and think and grow.
And my heart too is enveloped in curiosity.
When my son, the same one whose merciless questions can make the days seem so very long (while the years, meanwhile, seem so very, very short), I see how he’s beginning to explore the world of words around him.
“That’s my game!” He exclaims, as he points to his name – Canon – written on the wall of his room. You see, he plays an alphabet game on the ipad most every afternoon, matching letters and hearing sounds and seeing words. Even if his mind is still seeking to find the connection between Point A and Point B and every point in between, the neurons in his brain are rapid-fire learning and shooting, desirous to know and understand and grow.
You’d better believe I’m not about to kill an ounce of that curiosity.
And so we run.
We run after curiosity, and we swallow it down by the mouthful. We shout I want MORE of where this came from! I do, I really do!
We pry open our eyes so we might once again take notice as wonder takes root and births and grows. And we say that this too is good and holy and altogether lovely, too.
And then we start running again, all over again.
I mean, isn’t it the same for you?
Cara Meredith is a writer, speaker and musician from the greater San Francisco bay area. She is passionate about theology and books, her family, meals around the table, and finding Beauty in the most unlikely of places. A seven on the Enneagram, she also can’t help but try to laugh and smile at the ordinary everyday. You can connect with her on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
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