At a time when curiosity appears to be waning, when all people want to do is “follow” the next major influencer rather than come up with new ideas on their own, Isley has an interest in that which is unexpected.
At twelve, she has become a Renaissance woman in her own right. I called her that about a year ago, and curious as to what it meant, she looked it up. It’s a term that refers to someone who has talents, skills, and interests in a variety of fields of learning and pursues them with gusto.
Isley, if nothing else, is full of gusto.
This all became apparent years ago when her interest was first piqued by unusual animals. She’d watch National Geographic shows and “Wild Kratts”, a show explaining the wonder and uniqueness of animals in a cartoon setting. Isley would spout off little-known details of even lesser-known animals, much to the enjoyment of everyone in the family.
As she’s grown, she’s developed an interest in the theater (she’s memorized the entire “Hamilton” musical, both songs and dialogue), has begun acting in school productions, and has an unquenchable desire to better understand physics and the wonders of mechanical engineering.
Where so many her age are consumed by video games, she loves watching YouTube videos of science experiments. Her favorites, Mark Rober and the men from Australia who produce “How Ridiculous”, are all about experiments and pushing limits with what is understood about the known world.
She and I spent time together and watched several of these shows; she explained to me the science behind what they attempted. Her fascination with such information amazes me, but we talked about why things worked and didn’t–and my curiosity grew.
Curiosity can be a good thing if it moves us from being stuck in ways that aren’t helpful to us to allow us to thrive in truth. Being curious to discover the truth moves us to find honest answers.
When the apostle Paul was in Athens, he’d go to the synagogue and share about his encounter with the resurrected Jesus, and how He’d changed his life. He debated some of the philosophers of the day who were curious but uncertain about what he said.
“They took him and brought him to the Areopagus, and said, “May we learn about this new teaching you are presenting? Because what you say sounds strange to us, and we want to know what these things mean.” Acts 17:19-20
He told them about God, who created the world and didn’t live in temples, as their gods did. He’d sent His Son to help them understand who God is.
“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him–though He is not far from any of us.” Acts 17:27
We’ve been given curious minds to seek the truth. Some will do that because they desire to understand better the things they don’t know. Others will be satisfied with agreeing with what everyone else is saying rather than having the courage to ask their own questions.
God isn’t overwhelmed by our doubts; He welcomes the chance to respond.
Like Isely, are we curious enough to ask the hard questions–of God or anyone?
Or will we be satisfied with somebody else’s truth?
We get to choose.