“The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.” ~ G.K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles …
This world, right before my eyes, deserves my wonder–for here is an awesome place in which to live. From the amazing ways in which our bodies work and the incredible fearsome beauty of a snowstorm, to the miraculous beauty of birth and the incredibly delicate intricacy of the tiniest flower or insect. This planet is teeming with so much wonder, beauty, and amazing things that hold the ability to instill a sense of wonder in each of us, to fill our hearts and souls with joy and elation. So how is it that we can somehow still manage to become dulled to such wonder, taking these things for granted and not seeing just how amazing they really are?
Unfortunately, wonder does not announce its presence in our lives. Often times we stare blankly straight at it, either unaware of it or ignoring it completely. Throughout my life, there are plenty of places that I have travelled in which I did not experience or feel any wonder. Much of this can be attributed to my choices to simply not consider the wonder that surrounded me in these new places–I often saw it, but ignored it because I had my own agenda and other plans. Many times our reactions are based on what we are doing at the moment–the snowstorm becomes bothersome because we have to shovel and drive in it, the insect is an unwelcome invader when noticed inside our home, and our hunger becomes a burden to appease the moment our stomach growls.
And as parents, mentors, teachers, and role models, it is important that we encourage and teach our youth to embrace the wonder in which they see and experience the world. Instead of teaching them to put aside that sense of wonder in order to appreciate their logic and abilities, to gather and process information, we should help them to discover and share the joy in the world around them. This involves sending them outdoors to play, or getting active both mentally and physically, instead of filling their time with movies and games–things that distract them from the wonder all around. A child staring at a screen is not going to notice the wonder a child playing outside will find–the child outdoors at least has the chance to explore, notice, feel, and see.
And perhaps this is how many of us have grown to lose our sense of wonder over time–by spending more of our time indoors, feeding ourselves with thoughtless information and entertainment, all the while growing further away from a state of awareness, mindfulness, and wonder. Of course, it is possible for us to recapture that sense of wonder… but it will require us to not only open our eyes and our hearts, but also to give up much of our time spent on those other things that cloud and inhibit our sense of wonder.
Take a minute today to be mindful of everything going on around you.
Questions to consider:
When did your sense of wonder begin to fade? How?
Can you see five things that are around you right now that can make you feel a sense of wonder if you think about what they are and how they came to be?
Why are children more open to allowing their sense of wonder to shine through?
For further thought:
“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 disenchantment of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.” ~ Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder