Page 25 - March 2021 Hustle Mama Magazine
P. 25

Curiosity and Addiction
It wasn't strictly out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, but it did arise from an unexpected juvenile source. In the course of an English lesson in Hanoi, Vietnam, a fourteen-year-old boy was asked to write an essay on how to help a friend give up an
  After observing that the best way to avoid a bad habit is never to start, the young man wrote, 'You have no reason to take to a habit which isn't good, therefore don't mess up your life just because of your curiosity.'
This rang a warning bell. So could curiosity, the same power that every teacher hopes to stimulate in his/her students, be a significant factor causing young people to experiment with drugs and engage in other unhealthy practices?
In many developing countries of which Vietnam is an example, the socio- cultural context in which children are raised seems to suppress curiosity. The new foreign teacher asks, 'Do you have any questions?' is likely to be met with silence and blank faces. It isn't easy to create a situation where students can be motivated to ask questions, but it will happen when made to feel comfortable with perseverance and imagination.
It is pleasing to note that this quality, which is so strong in very young children, can be restored in teenagers, but is there a danger that these reinvigorated minds might be more prone to falling prey to addiction? A combination of curiosity and peer pressure likely is what leads to addiction in many cases
It is hard to resist the call of friends who promise a new and wonderful experience that everyone is said to be enjoying. And even if the first encounter proves to be rather unpleasant (does anyone ever relish their first cigarette or glass of sherry?), there is no lack of encouragement to keep trying until satisfaction is achieved.
But is the curiosity that can lead to addiction the same as the curiosity aroused in the study?
Personal observation and anecdotal evidence seem to suggest that the most likely candidates for addiction are those whose lives are empty, people who have lost interest in study and work. The curiosity that leads them on a downward path is a residue, a pale remnant of the aboriginal gift bestowed on every child, making a last attempt to find meaning in life. The intellectual curiosity stimulated in the classroom is one that fills life with interest and importance. It also leads to an understanding of addiction's danger and an ability to voice that danger, even in a foreign language!

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