According to Rabbi Shmuley, one of the primary responsibilities of a parent is to foster his or her child's curiosity in life. As he discusses in Chapter 3 of his book 10 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Children
, instilling a sense of intellectual curiosity is crucial for helping your child grow and thrive well into adulthood, he says.
How can this be achieved? Rabbi Shmuley offers these suggestions:
- Actively engage your child's mind at every opportunity while avoiding mind-numbing activities such as hours of television or video games.
- When your children pepper you with constant questions, indulge them with answers to the best of your ability.
- Get your kids excited about reading, history, nature, politics and art.
- Shift your academic expectations away from simply getting good grades to an emphasis on exploration, inquiry and a desire to learn.
If parents stifle, dampen or take an apathetic approach to their child's desire to learn and explore the world, they risk raising a child who succumbs to boredom, which Rabbi Shmuley calls "the bane of human existence." "If they don't become intellectually curious, what you get is these kids who are half dead—the zombies, the living dead, the ones who walk around without any energy—and we parents are responsible for this," he says.
"The good life is where you make the ordinary extraordinary
, it's where you make the natural miraculous
and it's where you make the everyday unique