How does that saying go again? Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten? Well as I learned last week, that phrase especially holds true when it comes to curiosity.
I recently set off on an adventure with my favorite captains of curiosity, my twin kindergarteners, Ben and Lily. For their school’s fall break we planned a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania. Why Hershey, curious readers may ask? Several reasons: It’s the birthplace of my mom, current home to my 94-year-old grandmother, the site of the world’s largest antique car show and last but certainly not least, the world headquarters of Hershey Chocolate. Need I say more?
Though we had planned to make the trip up by car, last-minute schedule changes suddenly meant that I was going to be flying as the sole grownup accompanying the aforementioned kindergarteners on a late-night flight that had us connecting through Detroit and reaching our destination well past bedtime. Oh %$@#.
This being only the third time the twins had flown, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I tried to prepare for anything, and came equipped with iPads, coloring books, snacks and a good supply of tissues, but what I wasn’t adequately prepared for was the curiosity they would bring with them. Sure, everyone knows that five-year-olds are extremely curious creatures. But put them on an airplane? Headed to Chocolate World? Curiosity times a thousand.
Outnumbered, I had no choice but to sit there and field question after question as they were launched at me in rapid-fire succession:
Is this an aircraft?
Is this a jet?
How fast does a jet go?
What are other airplanes called?
How fast do other airplanes go?
Is that faster than a cheetah?
How fast do cheetahs go?
What’s past the clouds?
Are we in the air?
Are we the only kids on this plane?
Can I take my seatbelt off?
Are we there yet?
And that was just the first flight.
Rather than get frustrated, I did my best to patiently answer each question as best I could, much to the amusement of our fellow passengers.
Reflecting back on what was a wonderful weekend filled with memories I’ll treasure and many, many more questions, I got to thinking about what a gift it is to ask every question that pops into your head without restraint. At some point as we’re growing up we tend to keep those questions inside, sometimes out of fear, sometimes out of laziness, and sometimes out of feeling that in our wise older age we already know everything about everything. Having kids has taught me a lot, but one of the things I’m most grateful for is the refreshing reminder of the great satisfaction that comes from letting yourself ask questions.
Ben and Lily, even though I may sometimes resort to the “because I said so” answer when I have reached my recommended daily allowance of responses, I truly hope you never stop asking questions large and small. You challenge me, fascinate me, and just plain make me laugh out loud. And you inspire me to remember that we should all question, marvel at, and soak up every experience around us.