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Value Series #7/Curiosity

“Curiosity is a willing, a proud, and eager confession of ignorance.” S. Leonard Rubinstein

Some of us are passionate about learning. I know that this is such an important value for me. Curiosity has given me great joy and satisfaction in life. My greatest blessing is that my husband shares the same thirst for knowledge. When I was young, I was taught that ignorance was a bad word. I equated it with stupidity. It wasn’t until I was an adult that a philosophy professor asked me to pull out my dictionary and learn what is the real definition of ignorance. Humor me…

Ignorance: lack of knowledge, understanding or education   Merriam-Webster

It was then that I began to understand that ignorance is a great word. It creates a place that learning and understanding can take place. I would rather ignorance than insisting that I already know. I live my life knowing that it is not possible for me to know everything about anything.

In a relationship, you can use your curiosity to share ideas, thoughts and beliefs with each other. Keeping judgement aside, you can learn so much more if you truly listen with a child like ignorance. If you close your mind to the possibility that what you thought you knew or believed was different or incorrect then you stop growing. Any great relationship needs growth. Curiosity is an opportunity for that growth.

When my husband and I were first dating, I asked him why he decided to go to a restaurant in the direction we were traveling. At first, he became angry. (We will talk about my growth with asking why questions at a later date.) He made an assumption that I was about to berate him for his decision about what direction he was driving. What I meant to ask him was if this direction was easier or faster. He had a moment of clarity after about a minute. He looked over at me and said, “Oh geez honey. You were asking because you were curious.” I nodded yes.

In our marriage, my husband has learned what a curious person I am and now understands that I am full of questions because I love to learn. What I didn’t know for a while was that he was just as curious. He looks up everything! When information is shared about subjects that he is interested in, he will research it. He loves to do this. He is such an interesting person with so much knowledge and he never forgets what I said to you earlier…no person can know everything about anything.

I challenge you to let go and be curious. Ask people questions about their interests. This also gives you an opportunity to practice those listening skills. You will definitely be surprised at what you can learn about a person or subject by simply being curious.

Kari Petruch

The Relationship Reigniter

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