Observing Small ThingsAs I let that wake of wonder wash over me, I realized this was the real gift I want to give my children because what good are straight teeth and trumpet lessons to a child who cannot see the grandeur of that the world is charged with.
Katherine Paterson, Author of Bridge to Terabithia
That moment of wonder was watching a cicada emerge from its shell and spread its wings in flight. Katherine Paterson reminded of things I once held so precious to me, nothing else compared. The wonderment and awe of noticing life and things in the world was a goal I had for my children before they were even a twinkle in my eye. Yet I often find myself under pressure to ensure all homework is completed, instruments are practiced, and schoolbags are in order, all after a grueling day at school.“Grueling?” Yes, schools are sometimes places where children work for extended periods without the much-needed “brain breaks” to recharge. There is a great deal of pressure to perform with my children’s school using numerical grades for work produced and for report cards. On a scale of 1-4, most average children, the ones reaching the benchmark and doing what is expected of them at their grade level, will achieve a grade of a 3! So many children are left feeling they are not performing as well as they should due to that ever-present, and often-unattainable goal of exceeding the standards with distinction to attain a 4.My own children are exhausted after a day at school and there has not been much “wonderment and awe’ created during the rigorous lessons comprised of worksheets and out of date text books.Wow! I sound very anti-education and the polar opposite of Tiger Mom. I am, in fact, merely venting at the loss of my vision of giving my children the chance to discover more in their lives, make interesting observations, and discover small things that lead to big ideas.Remember running through the woods and creating a whole fantasy world as you played? Do you recall watching a butterfly or ladybug silently glide through the air or scuttle in the grass and wonder about its life and home? I vividly remember seeing a pile of dirt and instantly creating a recipe for a delicious pudding for my dolls to eat. I made hundreds of recipes over the course of my younger years.By making everyday observations about the small things in life and allowing those noticings to develop into big ideas at times, I hope to begin permitting myself the time to develop such skills in my children. I have to begin by evaluating the “Must dos” and discarding the “It doesn’t really matters”. I should place emphasis on looking at our surroundings rather than thinking about the next thing to do or ‘game’ to play.Will my children grow up unable to compete in the highly competitive world we know live in? Gosh, I hope not…. surely allowing oneself to revert back to the childhood I once enjoyed will not create a veritable lump of uselessness in our modern world? I’m okay…I can blog, Tweet, and “connect” with the best of them. But I too have lost the art of noticing and enjoying. I need to get it back. I need to unplug and relax in the moment, I need to ‘see the grandeur of that the world is charged with.”