"I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
I was talking this week to someone who has been the subject of much abuse in their life. Someone who has been wilfully misunderstood, unwillingly incited fear and prejudice and knowingly challenged fixed mindsets for years.
Which category of people in society would you expect to be the most abusive? The mindless thugs who join every civic unrest situation so they can have a good scrap? No. The bigoted fools who prompt loud arguments with anyone who dare challenge their point of view? No. The answer is...children.
The person in question has had more threats of violence, verbal abuse and even mud hurled at their house by children than any other sector in society.
As well as being a sad testimony to modern life in Britain, this story also holds within it a seed of hope. The next part of the mud hurling story was a confrontation between the person being abused and one of the children. The confrontation rapidly turned into a conversation because the individual sparked the curiosity of that one child and soon the crowd of kids gathered around to learn something new.
Most violence and conflict arises from ignorance. One side either (A) doesn't know, or (B) doesn't want to know, the full story of the other.
The children in this story fell into the Group A, they didn't know enough about the person they were abusing. What differentiated them from many adults is they were keen to learn. Once their curiosity was spiked, they couldn't get enough. Their minds opened and a new understanding was matched by an erosion of their prejudices.
Somewhere along the way, some children lose their curiosity and some, if they lose it altogether, turn into closed-minded adults.
I've been sharing this video for a number of years for four reasons:
Curiosity really is a super power. It's a significant implement in the toolkit of a Change Maker. Whenever you are presented with a challenging situation, a problem that hits you right between the eyes, GET CURIOUS!
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