Hello everyone and welcome to today’s episode, where as always, I’m here to help us all find more joy in our relationships.

Before we get into today’s topic I want to share several responses from listeners to recent prior episodes

Two responses from Episode 59, “The Last Place You Would Ever Think to Find Joy”

  • Duane, a missionary in Japan
  • Health care worker in an assisted living facility

A response from episode 60 from last week, “One Perspective on Stay-at-Home You Probably Haven’t Heard Before” i.e., Let's make something!

  • Retired widowed-missionary

Now for today’s show. It’s going to be a Good News – Bad News episode.

I asked Carol what she wanted to hear first, and she said “give the bad news first.” That would be my choice, too. So I’ll share that first, and then at the end I’ll explain the good news – about the bad news, so be sure to stick around for that.

Here’s the bad news, there is another serious virus affecting us all that’s been around a lot longer than the Covid-19 coronavirus. But you never hear anything about it from the media. And sadly, the virus seems to be getting worse. I’m talking about the relational virus of CD-20, Curiosity Deficiency-20

Curiosity deficiency is the relational virus defined as “lack of curiosity or interest in the lives of other people with whom we have a relationship.” That definition is from the CDC itself. Not the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. No, this CDC is the Curiosity Deficiency Council based in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Here are 7 symptoms of CD-20 from the CDC:

  1. People often bore you
  2. You know little about the past of the people close to you. Parents, other relatives, neighbors, co-workers
  3. People’s behavior often mystifies you.
  4. You try to connect with people more by sharing your thoughts and experiences, rather than listening to theirs
  5. You don’t know the love language of the people closest to you
  6. You gravitate more to people who are similar to you, than those who are different
  7. Trusting people is difficult for you

The CDC, the Curiosity Deficiency Council in Bismarck, ND, is coming out with a test for CD-20, that may be ready in a week of two. As soon as it’s available, I’ll pass it on to you.

1st Example

An ice-breaker exercise I will often use when I’m leading a small group of people who don’t know each other is to ask everyone to share something that most people don’t know about them. I will sometimes say, I have two certified birth certificates with two different names. No one has ever been curious enough to ask me, “why?”

2nd Example

An older missionary couple, recently married, came to us about a strained relationships with their adult children. The couple had known each other as friends for many years during their respective marriages to other spouses. Both spouses from the first marriage of this couple died. Some time passes, and this widow and widower ended up marrying each other.

Their marriage took place 6 months after the husband’s first wife passed away. The adult children of the husband were in their late ’20’s.

When I asked the guy, “How did your adult children feel about you getting married just 6 months after their mother died?”

“I don’t know,” the husband said, looking like a deer in headlights. “I never thought to ask them.”

He was suffering from a severe case of curiosity deficiency. He had no interest in wondering about impact of his actions on his grieving children. He gained a wife. His children lost their mother.

I felt for the guy, because I too have had my own bouts of CD-20.

I think now of questions I wish my parents were around to answer. My dad died in 1997. I was not curious enough to ask him about his experience in WWII (Refer to his April 5, 1946 discharge letter I found while looking for something in my mother’s records. What was that 7-day emergency where he worked 22 straight hours?)

I wasn’t curious enough to ask him about being on the tennis team when he was in high school. I never saw a tennis racket in our house growing up, how come? Why didn’t he play after H.S.?

I wonder who taught my father how to figure skate so well, and to do that split eagle move that fascinated me and my siblings. I wasn’t curious enough to ask.

How did he learn to bowl and shoot pool?

I wasn’t curious enough to ask what it was like growing up as a teenager without a father? I wasn’t curious enough to ask what it was like when his sister, his half-sister, was killed in a car crash when he was just a kid.

I wasn’t curious enough to ask why he brought his mother, my grandmother, to live with us when I was very young, and how he dealt with the running conflict between her and my mother. That must have awful to juggle the relationship between his wife and his mother. What a no-win situation that must have been.

I wasn’t curious enough to ask him or my mother, about a distant memory I have of vague event when I was very young. I remember lots of yelling and commotion that involved great amounts of blood in our bathroom sink. Did someone slash their writs over all the conflict? Or was this just some gory accident?

There’s no one left to deal with my re-awakened curiosity. They’re all gone now.

I wonder about your curiosity about your past, and the past of others close to you. I wonder how much richer your relationships, and my relationships, would be if we were all just a little more curious about each other.

The Vaccine?

I mentioned in the beginning of today’s show that fortunately, there is a vaccine available for this virus, this curiosity deficiency, CD-20. Here it is:

Ask people questions.

More on this next week. One final thought.

You often hear people say their fathers or grandfathers in WWII or any of the other wars we’ve had since, “They don’t want to talk about it.”

Hmm. I wonder. I have a hunch that maybe these combat vets would have loved to talk about it if only someone would have asked them questions about it.

Maybe it seemed they didn’t want to talk about it because they sensed people didn’t really care all that much about their experiences. I wonder.

If you forget everything else, here’s the one thing I hope you remember from today’s episode. Our show in a sentence

The more curious we are about the people in our life, the greater the potential for deeper relationships with them.

Here’s what you can do in response to today’s show.

Who are you curious about? Who are the people you would like to understand and appreciate more? From the kind and generous neighbor next door, to the rebellious teenager in your life, imagine how much deeper your relationship with them would be if you exercised your “curiosity muscles” in relating with them.

Another thing you can do, especially if you are a new listener to this podcast, is to go back and listen to episode 54 and episode 55.  They are both about self-centeredness. The curiosity deficiency virus is a major contributing factor to this relational disease.

As always, another thing you could do is let me and your fellow listeners know what resonated with you about today’s episode. You can share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes. Or you can send them to me in an email to john@caringforothers.org.


Next week we’ll take a look at the vaccine recently approved by the CDC for Curiosity Deficiency virus, namely “Ask People Questions.”

I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act. So that you will find the joy God intends for you through your relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.

Now for Our Relationship Quote of the Week

I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

That’s all for today. See you next week. Bye for now.