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Stay curious

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

How many times do we think we know someone so well that we can predict how they will act or respond to certain situations? We draw conclusions based on previous experiences and label people, deciding in advance, what they can handle, how they will respond and why they behave the way they do. And when we are right, we pride ourselves for having known, thinking we have a special intuitiveness.

I am suggesting that we do the opposite, that we keep an open mind and see what unfolds before our eyes, while looking through the lens of curiosity, each and every time as if it were the first. Let me tell you a story about Daniel, my youngest son.

As a baby, he never liked the taste of Avocado. As a family, we love avocado and when it is in season, there is always some form of avocado at the table. I offered Daniel tastings of avocado as a baby and he just would not have it. I kept offering it to him, thinking maybe something would change. For three entire years, he gagged, made strange faces, and slid the avocado off his plate when I was daring enough to try and slip it on there, secretly hoping he would not notice. He had convinced me that he hated avocado.

One day, when Daniel was four, I served guacamole with dinner. My older son, Nathanel, was super excited. I served him and everyone else at the table some guacamole, except Daniel. He was extremely assertive and said, “You didn’t give me avocado!” “Of course not, I said. You hate avocado.” He said, “watch this mom; I love avocado!” and went ahead and ate guacamole as if he had been eating it for years.

My jaw dropped! How could it be?

That was a great lesson for me in my parenting and in life. We lock out the curiosity from our minds, making decisions and drawing conclusions, thus limiting the possible outcomes. We label our children as good, stubborn, difficult, sweet, loud, shy, smart, challenged, etc. based on past experiences and fasten our children into the category we choose for them in our minds, secretly expecting them to conform to that role.

What happened to our curiosity? Who are we to decide for our children who they are, what they like, how they approach situations, and how they will respond? Just because they did yesterday, does not mean they will respond in the same way again today.

When we stay curious about our children, we invite them to experiment and explore all the possibilities within themselves. One day they are shy, and the next day they are more daring. Today they are exceptionally needy, and tomorrow they may be completely self-sufficient. It is all good. We accept and embrace them for who they are and what they are experiencing, without judgement or conclusion, enabling them to stay curious about themselves and who they are.

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