My mother-in-law is raving about her first visit to McDonalds.
The muffin – ‘so fresh’ – the coffee ‘so good’.
‘Such good value,’ she exclaimed the other night. ‘And we got a senior’s discount!’
She’s just turned 103. The last time she went to a fast food joint was about ’20 years ago’.
This isn’t an anecdote about her obviously health diet.
It’s more about how she wakes every day, curious about the world.
A public affairs junkie, she never misses the news. Over her weekly Wednesday dinner with her youngest son - usually a three course one she’s cooked herself - she wants to go behind the headlines, to analyse and debate the implications.
She always wants to know ‘why’ – why you think this, why you did this, why you made that decision. Not to judge, but to understand.
I wish I had a Joan in every workshop to model curiosity and to ask ‘why’. It’s a rare gift, to want to genuinely understand what’s behind the position someone’s taken on a topic.
Such curiosity fosters effective collaboration. Without it, we’ve got little hope of putting ourselves in another’s shoes.
Joan was born in 1916. I can’t begin to fathom the changes she’s seen over two centuries. But I reckon curiosity is one of the secrets behind not only her longevity, but her joie de vivre.