Wonder is the beginning of wisdom. (Socrates)
When I was a kid much of my life was spent wondering.
Things puzzled me.
Things intrigued me.
Sorting out my thoughts via a series of wondering questions was the means by which I came to decisions, assumptions and conclusions.
I wondered about explorers. How did they ever figure out where they were going? Did they ever think they were wasting their time? Did they get scared? How did they know if they were the first to find a place?
I wondered about place names. Who chooses what a place will be called? Can you change the name of a place if you don’t like it? How can you get a place named after you? I’m pretty sure I would want to change some of these place names if I had the chance.
I wondered about people. Why do some people have blue eyes? Why do I have freckles? How can I make myself taller? What is common sense? Why do old men have hairy ears? Why do old ladies grow whiskers?
I wondered about clouds. I wondered about rainbows. I wondered about chickens. I wondered about fingernails.
I wondered about princesses. I wondered about people who lived in castles all those years ago before modern plumbing.
I wondered if the boy who sat next to me in class would die from eating what he picked from his nose.
I wondered if I was smart enough to get to high school. I wondered what I would be when I grew up since it had been made clear to me that I could never be a firefighter.
Wondering is a cousin of curiosity and the parent of inventiveness. (J A Barondess)
Wondering is an essential part of development. It is how children make sense of the world around them. It is the basis of learning. It is the source of the dreaded ‘But why?’ question that drives parents temporarily insane.
It must be encouraged and extended. When we wonder we are exercising our minds and our spirits and stretching the limits of our imaginations. Wondering pushes open the doors of change.
When a child wonders, we can simply provide the answer or we can offer a thought provoking query that will make them wonder even more.
‘Why do dragons have wings?’
‘Well, would they still be dragons if they didn’t?’
We can poke their wondering and help them to expand upon the thoughts. Wondering is the antidote to boredom. It is the tool that promotes creativity.
When you think about it, pretty much everything around us exists because someone scratched their head and said “I wonder……”.