Please Stay Curious!
Outdated rules, what schools are doing wrong and the importance of asking questions
I was in 7th grade when I had this teacher who had one single rule to be followed by her students:
Don’t ask “what if” questions. It’s a waste of time.
— Terrible teacher
You’ve probably noticed what you thought it was a spelling mistake when pretending to write rule. Well, turns out this is actually a concept introduced by Vishen Lakhiani, founder of Mindvalley.
Brule: a bullsh*t rule that we adopt to simplify our understanding of the world
In other words, brules are a set of ideas that societies create about what is right and what is wrong. What looks good and what doesn’t.
Now, what does this have to do with “What if” questions? Well, in this situation, quite a bit.
Probably (and hopefully) there aren’t many teachers like this in the world. However, there are many brules in the world. Many of them become brules because they’re outdated thoughts and nowadays, they probably shouldn’t be followed.
Example: you shouldn’t ask too many questions. Things happen the way they need to happen and there’s nothing beyond it.
Asking questions perfectly defines this concept. Before the Enlightenment, people weren’t used to questioning stuff. Things happened the way the needed to happen. People got sick because demons got into their bodies.
Thankfully, even in those times there were people whose curiosity simply couldn’t be contained. They were truth-seekers. Those kind of people didn’t follow rules blindly without questioning anything.
Today, we all have the right to speak our minds, have an opinion and ask lots of questions. Don’t we?
Many of us have been told that children ask a lot of questions when they’re little. They’re new to this art called life, on this planet called Earth and they need to gather as much information as possible about the environment that surrounds them.
And then? What happens then? We think we know it all, and we simply stop asking questions? Are we scolded for asking too many questions?
The following arguments could be telling us that the ultimate cause of children’s loss of curiosity is school.
- Time spent behind a desk: when children are younger and don’t need to attend to school or have been there for a short time, they have the chance to spend more time exploring things they’re genuinely interested in
- Everything is planned: when children attend school, no matter the age, there will most likely be a whole program that is supposed to cover all the topics they should learn about during the school year. Sometimes these programs are so tight in time that there’s no space left for those intriguing questions.
- Age-restrictions: not everyone learns at the same pace and not everyone has the same interests. Programs try to cover a wide variety of topics “according to children’s age”. But what if… I wanted to learn about astronomy in kindergarten, or my friend wanted to learn how to write poems and that just wasn’t in the program for that school year?
Ultimately, all these facts can lead to children losing curiosity, being bored and probably hating what they do during approximately 6 hours everyday. I’m not saying this should be true for every single child or every single school, but it’s definitely something that happens and we should fix.
Solve the problem
So, the education system isn’t likely to change in one night. What can the youngest do to continue being curious and what can adults do to recover that skill?
As mentioned before, children are curious by nature. They just need to be given the time to explore, ask and discover. If I got asked an infinite number of questions by a little kid, I wouldn’t just make answers up, tell them to stop bothering or answer with complicated words.
If you think about it, spending time with curious people can actually be a great opportunity for anyone willing to gain this skill or learn something new.
You don’t need to involve yourself in a difficult scientific investigation. Nowadays, all we need to do is grab our cellphone and google what you’re trying to figure out. That kid will appreciate it and probably you could also end up learning something new!
The power of “What if?”
I’ll summarize this idea by listing some questions that have changed how we see the world:
- What if the Earth wasn’t flat? 🌎
- What if we evolved from other species? 🙊
- What if we could make light using electricity? 💡
- What if we people didn’t have to use a stylus to use their phones? 📱
- What if bacteria had an immune system that humans could also use to edit our genome? 🧬
- What if we created a website where people could have online contact with others? 🖥
- What if we asked more questions and strive to answer them❓❓❓
Important to say, a thought could just be the beginning of something big. It’s the seed that could (or not) become a nice big tree. Our duty then, is to stay curious, have the drive and grit to grow this idea and show it to the world.
- There was a time in which many people were used to blindly believe what they were told. Today things are different
- The world is changing. Still, many education programs aren’t
- We can all do something to feed our curious selves. And it should be easy
- A simple thought, idea or question is like a seed that needs our commitment, creativity, drive and grit to turn into that beautiful tree
- STAY CURIOUS! 😜
Hey! I’m Sofi, a 16-year-old girl who’s extremely passionate about gene editing, human longevity, and innovation itself 🦄. I’m learning a lot about exponential technologies to soon start a company that impacts the world positively 🚀. My articles are about scientific innovations explained the easy way, to show you the amazing future that awaits us.
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