Things I’m Thankful For, Day 23: Curiosity

First off, yes, I know it’s technically the 24th already. Basically, I’ve made my peace with running this thing from the back of the pack for the next week.  I briefly considered being all proactive about it by sitting down for a few hours yesterday, flipping on the word faucet, and banging out posts for days 23-30 posts all at once. I could have scheduled them and been off the hook, like a real, professional-type blogger person.

But there was football on. And I had a twitchy craving for homemade chicken parmesan which wasn’t going to make itself. Also, I had some science to do with my youngest. Science always wins!

Which, actually brings me to the topic of the moment, Things I’m Thankful For, Day 23: Curiosity.IMG_0725

I have always been driven to understand how things work. How does electricity power my video games? How does salt make ice cream freeze? What makes pie delicious? See, it’s not enough for me to know that pie is unarguably delicious—well, assuming you’re an actual homo sapiens and not some sort of alien mimic placed here thousands of years ago as a reconnaissance agent for the upcoming invasion force.  I also need to understand what makes our body and mind respond to the sight, smell, and taste of it with the overwhelming conclusion: MMMmmm, PIE! I needed to know how taste buds work and how electrical signals carried by our nervous system trigger certain responses in our brain.

Of course, now that I’m thinking about all that, those same signals are triggering an urge in my head-goo to run down to the closest pie shop and bury myself, face-first, in something sweet, tangy, and fruit-filled. Which is, you know, generally frowned-upon behavior.

The point is, I’ve spent half an average lifetime wondering about, I dunno, things, both magic-seeming and mundane, like how does a refrigerator work (coils), how do they get those sweet-looking ships in those tiny-mouthed bottles (the boat goes in compressed and then, using little tools and huge patience, you expand it like a pop-up book), or why are bread and beer delightful (yeast), and then digging at the topic-at-hand like a compulsive teenager facing off against The Blackhead of Doom in the bathroom mirror.

For that, I will always be truly grateful.  That is, for being blessed with that sense of needing to know has made my life richer and fuller. Not for blackheads. Or the teenager years, really. Both can kind of be a pain.

Being thankful for my curiosity doesn’t end there, though. Sure, I like to think that everything is all about me, Me, ME! But the fact is, I’m even more thankful about it for my kids.  Of all the behaviors, both useful and, well, sometimes not so constructive – from my love of a good story to my general willingness to wallow in a multi-hour midday nap without even the slightest inkling of guilt – I could have passed down to my kids, the fact that each of them has inherited some brand of my curiosity makes me happy. Because when you’re driven to find understanding for the mechanisms of the world around you, not only will you have a better chance to identify and seize your opportunities, but also to regard that world with a deeper sense of wonder.

That is, knowing that the moon is made of rock and was once part of Earth makes me appreciate it much more than thinking it’s a huge ball of dimpled cheese put there by ancient sorcerers with an abiding love for gouda.

So when The Attitude comes to me and wants to know how electricity works, I can’t help but be delighted by his curiosity. Which is why, instead of writing a bunch of thankfulness posts this weekend, we went to Radio Shack this weekend and bought enough electrical components to make a simple circuit.


Because now he understands the basics of electricity, and I got to see that adorable, “look what we made” grin.