When I hear the word ‘curiosity’, it reminds me of the time Mrs. Palm Stinger (my school teacher) gave me six of the best with her worn out old ruler. I was only about 8 years of age and in second class. We were all standing in a circle, like the good little girls we were, doing our english reading.There was a knock on the classroom door and Mrs. Palm Stinger ordered us to remain quietly in our places. As soon as the door closed behind her, the whispers and the giggling began. Of course everyone was dying to know who was at the door, including me! The girls teased and dared each other to sneak a peek. Nobody budged! Feeling very brave that day, I dashed to the top of the room and took a quick glance through the glass panel door. Heart thumping like mad, I returned to my place and felt very important as I informed my classmates that it was Pauline’s mammy who had come calling. I thought I was great! So proud of myself. I didn’t feel that way for too long because as soon as Mrs. Palm Stinger re-entered the classroom, she was met with a chorus of high pitched voices singing, “Please miss Gloria McEntee ran up to look out the dooooooor….”
Well, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Betrayed!
Curiosity Killed the Cat
I was rewarded with an angry glare and six wallops with the battered old wooden ruler. She had a song to sing too! With each slap she warbled, “CUR – I – OSITY – KILLED – THE – CAT”. My red palms stung for a long time afterwards and my feelings even more so.
Later that same day, I was informed by a ‘reliable’ adult that curiosity meant ‘nosey parker’. Not a good day for an 8 year old! Needless to say, from then on the brave side of me kept well hidden away. I kept all queries to myself right through my primary school days.
Thankfully I learned later in life that ‘curious’ and ‘nosey’ mean two different things. ‘Nosey’ is when someone has a strong desire to pry into things that don’t concern them……like the private affairs of others. ‘Curious’ is the desire to learn or find out more about something that is of interest.
So….. someone once said that curiosity killed the cat. Did it really? What cat anyway? Now I’m curious……so I will try to find out who this mysterious cat is and if he still exists!
There is no cat! To cut a long story short……..The phrase ‘Curiosity Killed the Cat’ is used as a warning to someone who is venturing into something that may have dangerous consequences. It is also a polite way of telling somebody to mind their own business! So I’m guessing that Mrs. Palm Stinger was warning me that it was dangerous to run to the top of the classroom to look out the door – even if you did it very quickly. Well she could have told me that…..I would have understood!
Seriously though, I have long since forgiven her. I don’t carry it around with me! I’ve had bigger fish to fry down through the years.
Curiosity Didn’t Kill Me
When I finally gave into my curiosity, I learned how to ask questions about things that interested me.
Some important lessons I learned along the way:
1. Ask as many questions as it takes to get the answers you want or to understand fully what it is you need to know.
2. No question is a stupid question.
3. Don’t be concerned with those who don’t give a hoot about something you love. Nobody has to share your choice of interests. Nobody thinks exactly like you do or feels exactly like you do.
4. It is not a crime to lose interest in some things as time goes on and when you find yourself becoming curious about new interests, then delve right in. Sometimes we can have a renewed enthusiasm for old hobbies or pastimes years after we’ve abandoned them.
5. It is not always the case that you learn something new every day. If you spend most of your time in bed and only get up to watch your favourite soaps….what could you have possibly learned that day? Okay, you learned who cheated on who in Eastenders, but who cares? Is that piece of information really of any value to you?
How to Learn Something New Every Day
1. Spend time with people who you find interesting to talk to.
2. Spend time with people who share your interests. Even if the only way you can do this is on social media.
3. If you’re on social media, particularly Facebook, don’t waste your precious time engaging in all the negative posts and drama. Instead, join the groups that have positive messages to share and that post about your interests and hobbies.
4. Enrol in classes that enrich your hobbies. A great way of meeting like minded people.
5. Sign up for a course that will help you to improve your work related skills. You can never know too much, even if you’ve been in your job for many years!
6. And believe it or not…..do things that make you happy. You’ll be surprised at how you will learn great things just by being happy and open-minded!
7. Last but not least. Read! Read whatever interests you. Current affairs, romantic novels, sci fi, mystery and suspense (my favourite), non-fiction, anything! So much healthier than watching soaps too. 😉
keep your curiosity alive. Don’t be shy or afraid to learn new things. Curiosity didn’t kill the cat and it most certainly won’t kill you. (But just be careful all the same)
You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizon. The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens.