Curiosity and world peace

Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.
Samuel Johnson

I was travelling back from London last weekend after assisting on a Quest training course when I was lucky enough to witness a wonderful conversation on the train.

I was sitting across the aisle from a man who was interrupted from his iPad musings by a woman and her two children who wanted to share the 4 seat bay he was occupying. The children wanted the window seats so the guy moved to the isle so that the little girl who was about 4 could get the view. The boy who was around 6 was obviously curious about what the man was doing on his iPad and kept looking over. It wasn’t long before he said ‘hello’.

It was one of those moments that if you travel a lot sometimes happen and it can go one of two ways. Either the person ignores the greeting or they engage with it.

The man looked up from his iPad and said ‘hello’ to the boy. There was no turning back from there. the children curious about the man asked his name, where he lived, what he was doing on his iPad and where he had been.

He in turn found out their names, where they lived, what they had been doing in London and that it was not long before the boy’s birthday and that he didn’t know where he would have his party as they were moving house.

Then the boy said ‘you have black skin and pink nails’. This could have been a hold your breath moment but both the mum and the man who I now know was called Ian were both completely relaxed about the conversation. The children were curious not judgmental and it made the conversation charming and innocent. They went on to talk about the differences between them, about what the children were doing at school, their friends and what they were like and before I got off at my station Ian had been invited to the boy’s birthday party.

Those children made a connection, a friend on that journey because they were curious about the differences not scared of them. It made me wonder how many connections we could make every day if we were just curious instead of fearful or suspicious of other people. Just think how much more positive our experiences could be if we treated everything with a sense of fascination. So why not try wearing your curious head next time you are out and about and see what a difference it makes.