As a boy, I remember my mother taking my brother, sister and me to the local supermarket in town for weekly groceries. At this particular market, they offered a very exciting shopping incentive. They rewarded their customers with a complimentary Encyclopedia volume with each purchase over $10. Yes, I am smiling as I write this, I expect you are too; $10 is not much at all, but for my family of five, it seemed an astronomical amount of money. You see, we had little. We shared a small three room house, built from wooden shipping crates laid down by my father’s own hands after the war. Supplies were scarce and he salvaged what he could from the factory where he worked; $10 was indeed an astronomical amount of money. To get a free gift with our grocery purchase was a bonus that made the trip, the destination and the groceries all the more worthwhile.
Week by week, one by one, the Encyclopedia volumes came home. With each addition, the A to Z collection grew. My eagerness to learn, to know and to explore the world through the magic of words and pictures also grew. It seems to me that this was my first introduction to curiosity, to the experience of wanting to know more, of caring enough to look for more, and of being eager enough to wait for more. Of course I realize that we are all born with an innate curiosity burgeoning within. It is what moves us, as infants, to pick up toys and place them in our mouths or to get up again and again as we learn to walk. What stands out about my particular memory, however, is the expanded awareness that accompanied my curiosity each time I turned the page of my newly acquired Encyclopedia. Stories about the world, its mysteries and beauty, suspended my own reality as a boy growing up with very little to call my own. They invited me into the limitless arena of my own imagination. I could dream and see places described with such detail that I could feel myself there. It was as if the Great Wall of China was in my own backyard, it was as if I could fly over the expanse of the Grand Canyon, or that I could swim the depths of the world’s rich oceans.
“It seems to me that this was my first introduction to curiosity, to the experience of wanting to know more, of caring enough to look for more, and of being eager enough to wait for more” – Richard Finch
What is it about curiosity that makes one’s heart race with eagerness and anticipation? I am not sure. But I do know that curiosity is more than just a noun. It is an experience, a way of life, and it is a path that is sure to lead one toward many, and varied, journeys of discovery and learning. Such is the journey I embarked upon many years ago. I now enjoy it daily. Each day at Sheridan I am afforded an arena of many curiosities. The excitement to know more, to grow more, and to learn more intersects with the people, places and opportunities at Sheridan where the landscape cultivates and nourishes all that is curious.
Written by: Richard Finch, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies at Sheridan College.