We’re still digging out from under our most recent snow storm, so I’m sharing some of my favorite posts from the SK archives. Today’s post was written by Lisa Boisvert MacKenzie of The Wonder of Childhood. – Kara
A little child looks up at the sky and asks, “Mama, why is the sky blue?” Mama responds “hmmn…. I wonder.”
There is a pause. The child gets quiet and turns inward. Silence. The child looks up with a knowing smile, “I know, the sky is a blanket for the earth, to tuck it in at night and keep it cozy,” to which to mother nods.
Another child asks his dad, “Why do birds sing?” The dad pauses and responds, “Gee, I wonder…” He waits. The child muses on it for a few moments and comes up with an answer, “I know, it’s their way of talking to each other.”
Children come to understanding through wonder. Curiosity, inquisition, engagement and enthusiasm flow out of wonder and in turn inspire more wonder and understanding. It is this spirit of inquiry that leads to wisdom, the ability to ask a question, hold the question and wait for the answer to come, which leads to more wondering, more enthusiasm and curiosity, a rich and juicy life, full of wonder, awe and wisdom.
“Wisdom begins in wonder.” Socrates
The child is born with a sense of wonder.
Fifty-five years ago, Woman’s Home Companion published an article, Help Your Child to Wonder by Rachel Carson, in which she wrote:
“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and dis-enchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.
If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gifts from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”
How can we nurture the sense of wonder in the children around us?
Be the example and model wonder, “Gee, I wonder…” “Hmnn…” and wait when a child asks a question.
Be in nature together, not with facts but to enliven the “sense” of wonder.
Take time to be present in the moment.
Value the daily and the ordinary, “what lovely clouds this morning”
Find the value, the goodness, in situations that do not work out as planned, ” I wonder if maybe we were meant to take a wrong turn because now we can see the rainbow.”
Let children get bored, boredom is the springboard for wonder and great play and projects.
Remember that wonder is all around us and reveals itself to us when we are free of fear, safe and silent.
Trust that children know, children are capable of asking questions and finding the answers and trust that it is within you too.
Lisa Boisvert MacKenzie is a Waldorf Early Childhood Educator and mother of two boys. She can be found at her blog, or the e-magazine The Wonder of Childhood. You can also find The Wonder of Childhood on facebook.