I want to keep the wonder discussion going for a few days. It just feels like it is too important. Monday, I asked some of our staff at Orange the question, “How do you turn the Wonder dial either down or up in the heart of child?” I think they had some interesting insights.
• Injecting fear and ridicule can turn the wonder dial down.
Whenever you create a climate where kids are afraid of being wrong or rejected, it potentially affects how they develop a sense of wonder. Wonder is cultivated in an environment that feels non-threatening and safe.
• Adults who are too egotistical or proud can quench wonder.
It’s the cycle of life. Kids who grow up being too afraid of what others think become adults who hide behind a false sense of pride. This can result in adults who feel the need to always have the answer to every question and who will tend not to model wonder in front of others. Every kid should occasionally hear a parent say, “I’m not sure.” (That’s also something I would love to hear in a political campaign debate.)
• Asking strategic questions instead of just giving information can stir wonder.
How we frame questions are so important. “What do you think?” “How does that work?” “Can you help me figure this out?”
• Giving kids a hands-on experience can affect their wonder instincts.
One leader described the process of watching her dad mix ink as a printer. He would never just show her what to do. Instead he would stop and ask the question, “What do you think we should do here?” Over time, she was drawn into the process and learned because she had a hands-on opportunity.
• Rearranging schedules can affect wonder.
There seems to be a correlation between busy, rushed lives and the decline of wonder. Wonder requires space, margin and a slower pace. Creating the right rhythm to your day, week, and month can allow time to actually do things that inspire wonder. Reading, hiking, telling stories, music, art, photography, exploring nature, and yes, going to church can affect your wonder instinct. But they all take time.
So keep the ideas coming. What are some specific ways you think leaders and parents turn the wonder dial up or down?