I’ve made an astounding discovery: If you want a definition of curiosity and exploration, just watch a 9 month old discovering her surroundings.
A little backstory: while my son is going through basic training in the Air Force, our daughter-in-law and 9 month old granddaughter are living with my wife and me. It’s been a long time since we’ve had an infant in the house – over 18 years, in fact. Even with four children, I forgot how fascinating babies are – they are learning machines.
Babies are born with a deep desire to understand the world around them and an incessant curiosity that compels them to aggressively explore it. Even though she hasn’t yet begun to crawl more than a few feet at a time, my granddaughter is constantly in motion when she is on the floor – looking at objects, responding to sounds, grabbing things, and putting most of them in her mouth (GrandBob disclaimer: I only let her put Mom-approved objects in her mouth).
Babies younger than a year old will systematically analyze an object with every sensory weapon at their disposal. They will feel it, kick it (we have a budding soccer star on our hands), stick it in their mouth, stick it in their ear, and even give it to you to stick it in your mouth. I proved the last item at a cookout last night: after mauling my name tag, my granddaughter insisted that I put it in my mouth – which, of course, I promptly did.
Babies methodically do experiments on the objects in their universe to see what else they will do. We are natural explorers, and the tendency is so strong that it is capable of turning us into lifelong learners.
Music to my ears!
Our brains are not wired to outgrow the thirst for knowledge, but sadly, most of the time we are “educated” out of this natural curiosity. How sad.
As John Medina, author of the absolutely fantastic books “Brain Rules” and “Brain Rules for Baby” states:
The greatest Brain Rule of all is something I cannot prove or characterize, but I believe in with all my heart. As babies try to tell us and show us, it is the importance of curiosity.
What will you be curious about today?
For a few prior posts taking a look at specific topics from Medina’s book, click on these links:
Also check out his books: