Seeking Childlike Wonder
Wonder: a feeling of astonishment, pleasure, and amazed admiration which causes us to marvel. This might happen when we see something that is very beautiful or when something happens that we thought was impossible.
Wonder is the rapt attention and deep emotion caused by something extraordinary.
When we were children we experienced wonder with regularity. Childlike wonder—such a shame to lose it!
In an age of frenzy and cynicism, creating margin for childlike wonder can provide a life-giving pause, and help us remember what is truly most important in life. “Wonder is the heaviest element on the periodic table,” says Diane Ackerman in Deep Play. “Even a tiny speck of it stops time.”
In his old age, the world renowned artist Marc Chagall said, “I am a child who is getting on.” If you look at his works, you will see this is true. Personally, I am in agreement; I don’t mind growing old, but I think it’s sad to grow up.
We can’t produce wonder, but we can be open to it; we can make time to plan play that might incite childlike wonder. This could be a nighttime excursion with a telescope to view the heavens. It could be attending (or hosting) a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, or an excursion into the endless childlike wonder and wisdom of Winnie-the-Pooh. It could be a moonlit picnic for two.
We must make room for awe. Find space for wonder.
We must plan play.
“I am youth. I am joy. I am freedom!” said Peter Pan.
C.S. Lewis knew a thing or two about childlike wonder. “Who in his sense would not keep, if he could, that tireless curiosity, that intensity of imagination, that facility of suspending disbelief, that unspoiled appetite, that readiness to wonder,” he queried.
Lewis wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for his goddaughter, who was beginning to grow up by the time he published it. In his wise and gentle way, he advised her that “Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” Those who grow into wisdom—or ‘sense’—will be open for wonder, will create margin for suspended belief and imagination, will plan for play, be ready for Wonder.
I would like to remind and persuade us all to:
Never let the URGENT crowd out the IMPORTANT.
Make room for wonder!
Yours for the return of Grace, Civility, Beauty, Gentility, and Excellence,