Sunday, September 30, 2012

Curiosita of da Vinci

We’ve all heard it, a teacher or parent saying, “Don’t color outside the lines.”

Whether known anecdotally or by personal experience, we all understand this to be an example of the stifling of imagination and curiosity.  

This is blatant and obvious, but there are so many other more subtle examples of where we as educators and influencers of children do that same thing. They may not be written, but there are well-established rules of what’s acceptable and of what’s “educational” to the point that even the term becomes a turnoff to a child. None more so than with what is socially deemed appropriate reading material for a kid.

I’ve caught myself pushing a novel on my son in lieu of his comics or a Guinness Book of World Records. But if I pull Calvin and Hobbes out of an interested young person’s hands and replace it with a 300 page tome that does not speak in any way to him, I’ve deemed that reader’s interest insignificant. I’ve attacked his worth in some way by attacking the value of his interests.  

We cannot really control, nor should we, what sparks a child’s imagination. But we can sure shut that curiosity off far too early by imposing our own structure upon it, by imposing our own value upon reading material. Almost any form of reading can be like a gateway drug leading to more curiosity and possibly a more conventional format for the written word.  

In his book How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, author Michael J. Gelb points out as the primary reason da Vinci left such a legacy is CURIOSITÀ, that “insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.” 

According to da Vinci, “The desire to know is natural to good men.” Let’s be careful to not diminish that in any way with an impressionable child. Where better for a youngster to start exploring, to start questioning why things are the way they are than by reading?

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