The Value of Wonder for You and Your Children

Socrates, the 5th century B.C. philosopher said, “Wisdom begins in wonder.” While Socrates lived before Christ, we who have the blessing of being Christian know that we are made to know, love, and serve God on this earth and to be happy with him in heaven. One of the ways we come to know God is through the gift of wonder.

God has given us the creative gift of this amazing world and all that is in it. It is full of mysteries just waiting to be discovered. God wants us to appreciate and learn more about his creation. We then serve God by using that knowledge for good to help build His kingdom.

Life should be a constant process of learning. While our official years of school may be behind us, there is always something new to discover. As homeschooling parents, we are especially called to model the value of lifelong learning for our children. As Mistie Winkler stated in her recent presentation, “Lifelong Learning and Life-Giving Leisure,” “If we want our students to be contemplative and whole and to be transformed by beauty and goodness, we should live it ourselves.”

Learning Begins with Wonder

All self-directed learning begins in wonder. We start by paying attention. Something catches our eye, whether it be a physical object, something we read, something we see, or something we hear. We then want to learn more about it which sends us on a voyage of discovery. Sometimes, we want to learn how to do something. Other times, the knowledge is purely intellectual. Both types o f knowledge help us develop as human persons. Both types of knowledge help us fulfill our God-given missions.

Our children are also full of wonder. Everything is new to them. They will find some topics interesting and ask questions about things we have never pondered. One of our roles as a homeschooling parent is to encourage that sense of wonder, to answer our children’s questions as best we can, and to help them find the answers when we don’t have them.

This can often mean that we get to learn about subjects that we might not have ever investigated on our own. If can approach these topics with a genuine sense of wonder, they can be a great source of learning not only for our children, but ourselves as well.

Wonder is an incredible gift from God. May we all strive to make the most of it and learn something new every day.

Author: Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, editor of "Today's Catholic Homeschooling", is the mother of two biological sons and one adopted daughter. She is in her thirteenth year of homeschooling. She has a B.A. in History and Fine Art and a Master's Degree in Applied Theology. She is the author of "The Crash Course Guide to Catholic Homeschooling" and "The Power of Forgiveness". She blogs at spiritualwomanthoughts.blogspot.com