Curiosity (Dark Safari M)

“I won’t.” Dan found his resolve rising in proportion with Cyrus’ invective. “I said earlier that everyone on the fencing club has their strengths, but the one common denominator, the one characteristic everyone has, is curiosity. Each of my students is constantly searching for ways to improve their game, and when they get frustrated with the drilling, working on the same skills again and again, I try to tap into their instinctive curiosity, help them see their work is helping them get where they want to be.”

He pointed in the direction where Cyrus had laid his briefcase on the floor. “Rune, and Butch, are drawn to comic books out of curiosity.” He looked up at the television, saw the images from the school standoff were still being displayed, pointed up at the screen. “Yes, this is a dangerous world. Kids in Bark Bay are smart, they know the world outside their quiet little town isn’t anything like the one they know. The stories, the images they see in comic books, are some of their first glimpses into what that world’s like.”

“Oh please!” Cyrus leaned back, a mocking smile on his face. “You’re saying that reading stories about cannibalism is important for my child’s social development?”

Dan decided now wasn’t the time to discuss symbolism. “Kids aren’t always going to make the right decisions. When I’m coaching at the fencing club, and one of my students starts going in the wrong direction, it’s my job to explain why a different path is a better decision. I’ve worked with them enough to know that a my-way-or-the-highway approach won’t motivate them, because it doesn’t engage their curiosity.”

Dan paused to take a breath before making his final attack. “Banning comic books from practice would be a dismissal of their curiosity. Doing that wouldn’t just hurt them as fencers, it would hurt them as people. If you want to help Butch, don’t just toss tell him that comic books are bad — explain to him why you find the story so objectionable. Ask him why he likes these stories. Take this as an opportunity for a discussion, Cyrus. Trust that engaging his curiosity will go a lot further than stifling it.”


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