“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (NIV) Proverbs 4:7
As a parent, I enjoy taking my children on adventures. On walks, they love to skip ahead to see what’s around the next corner. On a hike, they’ll find rocks to turn over and small caves to peer into. God nurtures them through their natural gift of curiosity. If wonder is the basis of worship, children are the best at it.
Curiosity is a channel through which God reveals to us what he has laid out for us to discover in creation. God is so excited for us to discover every good thing that he has made. Every child is born with a God-given sense of curiosity. In fact, it is the first natural emotion a child displays. Children like to ask so many “why” questions that it may seem like an unending loop, but curiosity makes the mind stay active, observant, and excited. When children ask questions, be careful not to discourage them. Instead, engage with them and direct their questions to the "wonder and awe" aspects of life and God’s role in creation.
In our family with young children, curiosity is our collective spiritual discipline. We’re curious together and intentional in our journey of exploration. Below are a few practical tips on how to build the spiritual discipline of curiosity into your family life:
Bible stories have lots of space for questions. “I wonder what Jesus was like as a little boy.” “Did he have friends?” “Did he ever get into trouble?” Eugene Peterson calls these spaces “an implicit invitation to enter the story, just as we are, and to discover for ourselves how we fit into it.” Children can lead us into some serious, deep wonderings about God and his Word.
Build an “adventure” mentality into your family’s daily life. Encourage children to treat each day as a new adventure to meet people and do new things. Cultivate a "yes" attitude toward seeing life as an adventure and God’s blessing. Explore with your kids from an early age the wonders of God's created world, people, and cultures. Take nature walks, visit museums, explore galleries, and enjoy concerts together. There are lots of free and inexpensive opportunities to do this.
Look for variety. Build diversity of reading into your family library, and model curiosity at new areas of knowledge. In reading and art-making, expose them to various genres.
Create opportunities for them to meet people from all cultural backgrounds. Explore cultural festivals, food, and music. Find different ways to serve and love our neighbors.
Proverbs 4:7 urges us to “get wisdom” and “get understanding.” Parents play a major role in keeping the flame of curiosity alive in a child. Encouraging curiosity lays the foundations for good learning habits, but it can also foster a positive healthy outlook on life. But most important of all, parents may want to first rekindle their own curiosity and become role models for their children. Let your children teach you about God, his people, and his creation. We can always learn something new.
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article Parenting Wisdom from Proverbs and the Montessori Method.