One of the greatest dangers in today’s education is the loss of wonder in education. Kids of our generation in general are not curious about the universe they live in, about the way things work in nature. They are so preoccupied with the latest thing man has made—latest app, latest Tik Tok clip, latest Instagram message, that they rarely take a moment to enjoy the blessings of God in nature, in history, or in stories-real or fictional. The real danger is not that these latest social media are just taking up a royal amount of our children’s time, but that these trends rob our children of wonder, which are God awakened sense of the richness of his truth, goodness, and beauty.
Wonder is more than just a way to get a child motivated to study. First, wonder is the beginning of wisdom. Aristotle and Plato, the two fountainheads of western philosophical heritage, agree that wonder is the beginning of wisdom. Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
Wonder is also the way to fight against evil. C. S. Lewis, in his The Screwtape Letters, writes, “the incalculable winds of fantasy and music and poetry—the mere face of a girl, the song of a bird, or the sight of a horizon—are always blowing evils whole structure away.” These days, when I am bogged down with work and feel a bit overwhelmed, I pick up my guitar and strum a few lines of songs. I noticed that it not only calms me down, but everybody else in the house as well. Evil is dispelled.
Finally, wonder is the gateway into a deeper understanding of the world. According to Clement of Alexandria, one of the early Church Fathers, faith, is the beginning point of understanding and knowledge about the universe we live in. For Clement, faith is that simple appreciate acceptance and wonder of God’s revelation. And that faith, coupled with reason, allows us to gain a deeper understanding of every aspect of the nature and the providence of God in history.
How, then, do we restore such wonder in our children? Here are three recommendations based on the three functions of the wonder outlined above. First, read to children books which will open their eyes to the “immensity of the sea” of God’s world. Second, teach children to sing, draw, write poetry, spend time together in nature. Third, engage in conversations and discussions which draw the connection between heavenly things and earthly things, between the revelation of God in the Bible and what God reveals in nature. Practice these things, and you will change the future of your children.