Be Kind to Your Curiosity

Aaron Pace
4 min readFeb 24
Photo by Gary Butterfield on Unsplash

When I was nine or ten, this old lawnmower we had stopped working. The engine seized one day while my dad was out mowing the lawn.

My younger brother — who was only eighteen months my junior — and I decided it would be a good idea to take apart the two-cylinder motor, sure we could fix it.

Sometimes naivety and luck work together in your favor.

Such was the case that warm summer morning. We quickly figured out how to remove the motor from atop the lawnmower by detaching the blade and removing a few heavy screws from the undercarriage. We might have given up had the motor construction not been so simple: essentially the carburetor and the pistons. We removed the piston heads then worked the pistons with WD-40 and all the muscle of our adolescent arms until the pistons were moving freely again.

Turns out, the motor really just needed oil, and the damage wasn’t irreversible.

The rest of the story is a bit fuzzy but I do remember we spent most of the rest of that day building a very heavy wood frame for a go-cart we were going to put the motor on. Further dismantling the lawnmower, we used the wheels from the mower for our go-cart as well.

The go-cart never functioned — we couldn’t figure out how to attach the shaft of the motor to the axle of the go-cart in a way that would make the wheels turn.

I’m not sure our parents knew what we were doing until it was too late to stop us. To their credit, they didn’t crush our dreams of building the fastest (maybe the only) go-cart in the neighborhood. They just let us work, feeding our curiosity.

I had what felt like an insatiable curiosity growing up. When the first cordless phone we ever owned stopped working, I disassemble that too, sure I could turn it into a remote garage door opener — because garages and automatic openers were just becoming a thing.

Curiosity is an innate part of every person. As anyone who has ever interacted with children knows “why?” is their favorite question. Curiosity fuels our drive and our ability to learn.

As we grow older, that in-born curiosity tends to wane with so many of us. Our worldview becomes increasingly constricted by tightly held opinions and daily pressures from work…

Aaron Pace

Married to my best friend. Father to five exuberant children. Fledgling entrepreneur. Writer. Software developer. Inventory management expert.