One of the things I appreciate most about spending time with young children is learning to see the world again through their eyes, with the sense of wonder they shine on all they view.
“Did you see that?”
“Why is like that?”
“What would happen if …?”
For many adults, that sense of wonder has been buried deep inside, hidden by the worries and concerns in the hustle and bustle of modern life; the busyness with which we seem to cloak our daily activities.
But how joyous it can be to fling off that cloak of busyness and once more allow a childlike sense of wonder to emerge. The company of a young child is not essential for this to occur, although it may help to reawaken the sense initially.
Take a moment each day to step off the treadmill of relentless must dos and appreciate the wonder all around.
It can be easier than you think:
Smile at a fellow commuter or passer-by.
Appreciate the friendliness of a smile, a gesture, a kind word.
Look around for changes in the landscape, notice details you may have missed before – “How long has that been there?”
Search through the daily cacophony to identify the song of each individual instrument: man, machine, nature.
Listen to music; old favourites or new tunes. Louis Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world” and Van Morrison’s “A sense of wonder” help to get me in the mood.
Pause to ponder the whys, the hows, the possibilities and the big questions, like “Who am I? Why am I here?” and “What is the meaning of life?”
Stop telling people how busy you are, instead think of something you are enjoying, have achieved or are working on right now. Share the joy of being alive and capable.
Breathe deeply; and as you focus on the breath as it moves in an out of your body, appreciate the life-giving air that surrounds you.
If a child should ask a question, avoid the impulse to rush in with a wonder-stop: “That’s the way it is. I don’t know. I haven’t got time. I’m not worried about that now. We have to go. Not now.”
Instead, pause for a moment and ask yourself the question as if you were the child, seeing and wondering for the first time, with a burning curiosity and longing to know. Look where the child is looking, see what the child is seeing. You’ll be amazed at what wonders will be revealed.
Reclaim your right to wonder. After all, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” (Socrates) and “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” (Einstein)
These ideas are but a few. I invite you to share your favourites.