I love middle schoolers. Why? Because they are eternally curious.

Eternal curiosity can, of course, be the demise of any given person, for example: Goldilocks, countless cats around the world, and anyone who opens a closet door in a suspense movie.

But middle schoolers have the curiosity thing DOWN. They don’t need any training. They ask questions as if their life depended on it. As if they were told their Facebook accounts would be deactivated if they stopped asking questions. As if they were promised a new iPhone if they asked a certain number of them. I could go on.

I know this because I let it happen to me last week. Long story short: I am currently a permanent sub for  Homeschool Connections, (a community for homeschooling families where students can take enrichment classes). So I’m teaching several classes, some of them elementary, some of them high school, and some of them my favorite: middle school.

As a teacher, I want to foster an environment conducive to curiosity and discussion in a relaxed atmosphere. So for the first few minutes of every class I teach, I allow them to ask me questions. Anything they want. I’ll answer nearly all of them, within reason and propriety. And let me tell you, they had some good ones, like…

“What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own?” (My Ariat cowboy boots.)
“What’s your favorite brand of tractor?” (Nothing runs like a Deere.)
“Have you ever had a crush?” (Who hasn’t?)
“What does your basement look like?” (Like a basement…?)
“Are you getting sick of answering these questions?” (Nope, I know all the answers!)
“Are you going to take us to McDonald’s?” (Probably not.)

I love middle schoolers because they truly understand what it means to learn. Well, maybe not completely, but they aren’t afraid to ask hard (or dumb) questions to figure out what’s going on. They’re realizing what it means to be a student and a thinker, but are not yet too cool for school. They’re curious. And curiosity is where all education begins.

So…are you still learning? Are you still asking questions? Are you still curious?

This will probably be the only time you’ll ever hear these words, so savor them:

Be more like a middle schooler.