The Beginnings and Endings of Curiosity

I am constantly wondering things. Most times they were simple things such as, why is the sky blue. The answer to this question can be found in almost any modern science textbook. Other thoughts were more complicated, such as, why did we evolve and not our closely related primates.

As you can imagine this question was sparked after a particularly engaging discussion in my fifth grade science class. Now my biggest wonder is why we are naturally curious. Is the amount of curiosity one person has genetic, like hair color and chances of certain diseases, or is it taught to you when you are younger? Or perhaps it is influenced by the people around the child. If the parents of the child are very curious about the world will the child pick up on that behavior? I think that this is a very exciting topic that is relatively unexplored. When the average person thinks about curiosity they may imagine a child getting into trouble for sneaking around.

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Should this behavior be encouraged instead of chastened? If a child is taught at a young age that being curious is wrong; will this dampen their curiosity? The answer is yes. If they are grilled into their brain that being curious is wrong will this make them think that wondering about unknown topics is wrong. What if this is the next Einstein or Picasso that is being chastened for being curious?