"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." -Rachel Carson
Little Lady loves to read. She brings me books all day long and we sit on the carpet and snuggle in and read. She picks funny books sometimes. Last week she brought me a library book on how to play chess and made me read eight pages before she lost interest. If she sets up the board correctly, it may not be an accident. Today she brought me a winter book that I usually keep boxed up with the Christmas decorations, filled with microscopic images of snowflakes and satisfying quotations from famous writers. I really love the quotation written above and looked up Ms. Carson to "meet" her. What an inspirational woman! I think you should "meet" her too, but that's not what this is about.
I've spent a better part of the morning thinking about this sense of wonder she longs for in her adult life. This gift of SEEING the world that she wishes every person on this earth could hold on to. How is it that wonder is something we lose, something we miss and cannot seem to grasp even though we all desire it? I think of Thoreau's musing that "the question is not what you look at, but what you see." We look at so much. We go so fast. We never stop with the media, the noise, the stuff. We are so busy that we never have the time to actually see, because in order to see we have to stop running from one thing to the next, slow down and actually allow something to sink in.
I worry, in this age of technology and information overload, how to protect my kids for losing their wonderment. I think, like most important life skills, I have to be the model. So how do I hold onto my own sense of wonder? When there are so many urgent tasks screaming at me day in day out, so many mindless forms of entertainment seducing me to check my news feed, stay glued to this screen until its time to turn on the next screen, so many chores and planned activities and assignments labeled important that are really nothing more than busywork. Is there anyone out there who isn't busy all of the time?
But what really matters? And how do you stand your ground when the whole world is swelling up around you, demanding your time, your brain and your life, really. And this isn't all about technology sucking us dry. I don't want to say that checking facebook is evil. Or that television will ruin my kids' lives. Keeping time suckers in check can be hard if I don't watch myself. But really, that's only part of it, isn't it? You can go a whole day without turning on a single screen and still not be filled with a sense of wonder. Because "the question is not what you look at, but what you see"(Thoreau).
What is it that I see? Do I see that happiness on her face when she's bringing me a sand pie or do I see the mess I'm gonna have to clean up later? Do I see the excitement in his eyes when he shows me his newest lego creation or am I too busy cooking dinner to even bother looking? When we go for family walks, how often do I let them go at their pace, discovering, seeking, SEEING instead of hurrying them along? Here I am, desiring to protect this sense of wonderment and yet I'm probably killing it off myself.
What is it that I see?
My view is changing. The more I count gifts, the more I see them and now I want to slow down, take the long path, stop and smell the roses. To see the smiles, cherish the laughter, notice the worms and flowers, smell the blossoms, and taste the sweet fruits of the world.