Blue Highways Journey – Episode 13 – Curiosity

Adam Steele was thinking about his upcoming blue highway journey when he had an inspiration. He had just talked with a business colleague who ran one of the most progressive farming operations in the country. He hired legal immigrants and paid them a living wage and benefits. He also saw to it that their children had access to a good education, and that was the source of Adam’s inspiration.

His colleague was looking for English-language tutors to help with the assimilation of his employees’ children into American society. Adam’s two children, Taylor (16) and Jordan (15), had taken the Spanish classes their school offered but needed more experience with their verbal understanding of Spanish.

Adam and his colleagues worked out an arrangement where his children would tutor English while developing their Spanish verbal skills. While the tutoring was going on, Adam would be on his blue highways journey in the area.

While Adam has talked with his children every day, he hadn’t seen them for close to a month. He was looking forward to talking with them on the way home. The conversation began with a simple question.

Adam:  How did the tutoring go?
Taylor: Not well at first, but it got a lot better when we started doing what you taught us.

Adam:  What? I didn’t think I ever taught you anything about tutoring.

Jordan:            It wasn’t tutoring. You always taught us to be curious by having curiosity conversations.

Adam:  I’m still not sure how that helped with the tutoring.

Taylor: We began to ask them questions about their life in English and then that would start a conversation where we used Spanish, and they used English.

Adam:  (Clearly proud) That’s terrific! Well tell me what you learned.

Jordan:            You won’t believe how they viewed their life. We’re used to our friends complaining about every little thing, even though they are very privileged. That’s the opposite of what these guys said.

Adam:  How so?

Taylor: They are so appreciative of everything. It’s hard to imagine what their former life was like.

Jordan:            I was really impressed by their faith in their future. They had life plans that Taylor and I, and all of our friends struggle with.

Taylor: And they were so thankful. We’ve never eaten so well. Everyone invited us to their homes for meals.

Jordan:            This was the best thing I’ve ever done. I hope we can continue coming back.

The entire rest of the trip consisted of stories Taylor and Jordan shared. What especially pleased Adam was how his children learned the value of curiosity conversations. Over the years, he had learned that it is easy to develop your own perspective on life. He learned that true leadership never comes until you learn to think like other people. And that begins with curiosity, and curiosity is formed by conversations with people very different from yourself. Curiosity is the ultimate source of ideas and ideas are the way our society advances.

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“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.” – Albert Einstein


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