Curiosity and Courage: the Keys to Unlock your “Reason of Being”
Did you like going to school everyday while you were a kid?
My answer... Hell No! I don’t need to think about it, call a friend or sleep on this answer.
The worst part for me was being at school for about 6 hours everyday. In retrospect, I just realized the massive amount of time I lost while I was a kid, trapped listening to not very enthusiastic educators that wanted me to memorize facts on history, geography and literature. I just did a guesstimation, and I probably spent 11,880 hours listening to people while I was in elementary, middle and high school.
6 h per day x 5 days x 4 weeks x 9 months of class per year x 11 grades (Elementary + Middle + High school grades in my country) = 11880 h
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” ― Plutarch
Growing up in a country where going to school is compulsory by law to every single family, self-directing my education wasn’t an option for me or my parents.
You might imagine how surprised I felt once I learned about self-directed education. And how inspired I was once I met actual students in Galileo that are driving their learning journeys based on their interest and passion.
One of those inspiring students is Lauren Prince. She is the daughter of the Author and Podcaster Daniel Prince.
Since Lauren joined her siblings Sophia and Samuel at Galileo, we have the chance to get to know her and get a glimpse of her many talents.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” ― Albert Einstein
Lauren is the kind of student who is genuinely curious about the courses she takes.
It doesn't matter if she is...
Sharing an exciting story about eating insects in Thailand in our food innovation bootcamp...
If she is just giving a try to our Spanish language Club...
Or if she is inspired writing short tales as part of our writing group.
Lauren is the kind of person who’s not afraid to let her curiosity guide her choices. She asks questions, she engages in discussions and she not only learns new things, but also has lots of fun in the process.
I believe curiosity is the most important skill a person should have. (Even Abe Einstein is on my side).
And I strongly believe that encouraging curiosity in our children might help them find their ikigai (also “raison d'etre” or “reason for being'') faster.
How could you encourage your own children to develop curiosity?
This isn't something people talk about often, but here are my top 3 recommendations.
Show them the world.
Something that works well for the Prince Family is worldschooling. Make the world their classroom. The Prince's give Lauren and her siblings the chance to master French as a second language, learn about history in the place where the real events happened and be more engaged in their learning experiences.
Give experiences rather than gifts.
The reason why Collin College Technical Campus transformed their engineering faculty into a cross-discipline working area where people get credits while completing projects instead of courses, is because we learn so much more while we do things than while we listen to facts.
As Benjamin Franklin said once “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”.
Give the chance to your children to build their own skateboard, write their own books, make their own birthday party invitations. Everything might be a learning experience if we fuel their motivation.
Ask open-ended questions.
The classical question children ask adults is: Why?
Ask them "why" back! Let their minds wonder, give room to children to debate and please never underestimate their abilities. Children are naturally smart. They can engage in conversations with adults and learn from their experiences.
As Billy Graham said, “Courage is contagious.. “
Something I admire about Lauren is that she's brave when taking on new challenges that I think many adults wish to avoid.
Last year she joined her dad as co-host of our family experience day, an event where more than 200 families across the globe joined to celebrate Galileos students' achievements.
And there she was, sharing funny anecdotes making other students feel involved and enjoying a once in life experience. Who knows, it might have inspired her to one day pursue a career in public speaking.
Having courage might help your children to persevere against challenges, and in the process raises their self-esteem. So why do conventional schools never teach us how to develop this skill?
“I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. ... Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.” ― Stanley Kubrik
In another reality, if Lauren were in a conventional school, all of the great things that make her authentic and in my opinion a brilliant human being, will not be encouraged.
I remember from my own student experience, that most of my classmates that were curious, risk takers and passionate speakers like her, were frustrated and shut down by our teachers for interrupting, or just being considered “difficult” (whatever that means).
I do believe most of the children out there are like Lauren: curious, thirsty for knowledge and brave enough to find their role in this world. How can we encourage them to be more brave?
Ask them the following question...
What’s the Best That Could Happen?
As the author Michelle Poller, explained in her book ”Hello, Fears: Crush Your Comfort Zone and Become Who You're Meant to Be”, being brave is not about being reckless... it is about understanding that fear is not the end of the road, it’s only one stop on your learning journey.
Are your children scared of auditioning for a play?
First day at summer camp?
Traveling to a language exchange program in a foreign country?
Ask them: What’s the Best That Could Happen? You get the lead part. You make a new friend. You get a glimpse of independence. You name it!
Help them imagine potential gains, so they start choosing growth instead of comfort.
If you want to get a dose of inspiration in this topic, don’t miss our upcoming event where Daniel Prince will interview Lauren Prince. You'll hear in her own words how a typical day looks and how her family takes advantage of all these learning opportunities.