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Curiosity drives a lifetime odyssey in quest of understanding. Beginning at birth, we explore the physical world by first noticing our hands and feet. We progress to exploring the environment around us by first recognizing and then interacting with others. At toddlerhood, we express surprise at novel events such as hailstorms. As young children, we make observations to establish cause and effect relationships.

Teaching encourages our curiosity feedback loop. Discouraging curiosity impedes our ability to achieve insightful solutions to problems. William Arthur Ward discerns the role of our teachers when saying: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Stafford, inspires me to quit stuttering. Teaching and learning help us overcome our limitations.

Our republic’s foundation rests on curiosity strengthened by teaching and learning. In 1816, Thomas Jefferson frets about lack of curiosity and individual accountability when writing to Charles Yancey, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Occasionally, leaders kindle empathy, compassion, and understanding.

Benefit from John Lewis’ counsel, “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up.” Speak up to protect citizens’ rights under the rule of law and U.S. Constitution. Safeguard the republic with curiosity which promotes deliberative thinking. Endorse Albert Einstein’s outlook, “I have no special talents; I am only passionately curious.”

Roger Combs

Ona

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