Did you hear the one about the kid who wanted to know everything about everything?
Drawing on some stories of Teddy Roosevelt (who was evidently enough of a man to give a 50 minute speech with a bullet buried in his chest), Batterson paints a compelling picture of childlike wonder as the second virtue of manhood. Roosevelt was a man who was insatiably curious. I don’t know if he was the pre-cursor for Sid the Science Kid, but he was compelled to learn. He wanted to know stuff.
This kind of appetite for figuring things out, for seeking understanding, for learning is a critical component of being a man. Have you ever heard two 12 year old boys arguing about the merits of Ford vs. Chevy? Or throw in a third boy who just loves his Dodge? Maybe you haven’t, but let me assure you, it is the curse of doing youth ministry in rural America – I’m sure there’s an analogous conversation going on in the clusters of 6th Grade boys wherever you are. It’s amazing how much these boys know about their family trucks, right? Right? No. Actually, it’s not. They typically know more about how their fidget spinners work than the trucks. But that won’t stop them from declaring absolute devotion to one brand or another – because they’re boys and they don’t realize how much they don’t know.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but you’re not a cat. You’re a child of God, so don’t ever lose that childlike wonder that Jesus built you with thinking it makes you more of a man to pretend that you know everything you need to know. You don’t. Men don’t know everything. The best of them know that there is a lot they still need to learn, that every day points out new gaps in what they know, and they continually seek to learn what they need to learn.
This isn’t merely a vain pursuit of knowledge for it’s own sake, though. It’s for the sake of more deeply worshiping our Father, who made all the wonders of the universe that keep us so enthralled. The more we understand our selves and our world, the more in awe we can be about our Creator. He loves to see that awe and wonder, that curiosity in His children. It pleases Him to no end when when we worshipfully wonder.
So go ahead, Man – Be Curious! Learn something.
What do you want to do with what you’ve been learning lately? Maybe, instead of emails and private messages to me, you can share your answer in the comments section. Maybe someone else can be sparked into action by what you’re learning. Or maybe they can help you take the next steps in your process.
We’re walking through 7 virtues presented in Mark Batterson’s new book Play the Man over the next several posts. Feel free to jump into the discussion. It may be helpful to use the links in this post to get a copy for yourself and follow along.