Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Childlike Sense of Wonder

"Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories."
~ Ray Bradbury

Until the fall of 2009, I was a home schooling mom. My son Josh, now 23, is a home school high school graduate; Casey, a joint enrolled college student, and Nathan, a high school freshman, both entered public school for the first time last August. I loved home schooling my kids. I taught my boys how to read and do math; we shared great books, listened to classical music, went to concerts, and visited museums.

And we went on nature walks. My inspiration in those days was a teacher from the Victorian era named Charlotte Mason. She encouraged her students to go outdoors in all kinds of weather, commune with nature, and record their observations in notebooks. Charlotte's students painted with watercolors; my boys and I drew with colored pencils. I am no artist, but the point wasn't to create art. The point was to SEE. It was powerful. And my children's notebooks were beautiful.

Experiencing the world through the eyes of my children helped bring back the sense of wonder I had lost since leaving childhood, and I am determined to hang onto it. Last Wednesday, as I left my critique partner Lindy's house, I noticed a bed of violets on her lawn. I love violets, so I stopped and took a picture.

Then I noticed a patch of dandelions, so I took a picture of them, too.

Now I am aware that violets and dandelions are considered weeds, and people spray their lawns with toxic chemicals to get rid of them. But I happen to think that perfectly manicured grass is highly overrated. Besides, dandelions have magical powers. After a dandelion flower goes to seed, if you pick it carefully, close your eyes and make a wish, then blow all the seeds away, your wish will come true. Of course, you have to blow EVERY single seed away - similar to blowing out all the candles on a birthday cake. Knowing that, how can you NOT love a dandelion? I am even considering having a picture of a dandelion gone to seed tattooed onto my ankle. That's just how special I believe them to be.

Have you lost your childlike sense of wonder? Try skipping across the parking lot from your car into the grocery store. Blow some bubbles through a wand. Color a picture with a box of crayons.

Make a wish on a dandelion.

"Never lose the childlike wonder. It's just too important. It's what drives us. Help others."
~ Randy Pausch


Julee J. Adams said...

Love your pictures, Pam! You are right, we have to focus in on the joy of the moment and the beauty around us, especially in the spring. If you take a pic of the white with purple violets, I'd love that--they're my favorite!

Hearing Ray Bradbury speak and getting some books autographed by him was truly a thrill. He was an advocate of seeing things with child-like eyes and weaving that into your writing.

He said he started out by re-typing a million words worth of stories that other writers he admired had published, to get the feel of the word selection and phrasing. That stuck with me and when I had my Regency romance frenzy, I copied phrases, quotes, paragraphs I loved into my notebooks, careful to attribute. Going back through them, I revisit these other authors' talent and it inspires me.

Just as your children's notebooks inspire you and bring you happy memories of a job well done. Good blog, thanks.

Pam said...

That's interesting, Julee, because one of the components of Charlotte Mason's language arts lessons was "copywork," in which the students copied sentences, paragraphs or pages from great literature. That technique really does help internalize what makes good writing. I, too, continue to keep notebooks filled with quotes and paragraphs that move me. It is, indeed, inspiring. Glad you enjoyed today's post!

SAIDFRAZ said...

I <3 Charlotte Mason. I miss those earlier years of homeschooling. The high school years ... not so much. Thanks for bringing back a few memories.

Ron said...

Good morning Pam,

It sounds like you did a good job of raising your children. My little granddaughters think dandelions are the most beautiful flower in the world :-)

I am unable to follow your blog at this time because of a glitch in my friends connect gadget. I keep receiving this error message:

"We're sorry...We were unable to handle your request. Please try again or return a bit later."

I'm working on the problem with Google and hope to have it fixed soon.

Take care and have a nice day :-)


Pam said...

I know what you mean, Sherri. Those really were special times. I am looking forward to reading aloud to/making nature notebooks with my grandchildren - many, many years from now! ;-)

Pam said...

Ron, thank you for visiting my blog. Your granddaughters are wise little women! I look forward to having you as a follower. Have a wondrous day!

Libby said...

"But I happen to think that perfectly manicured grass is highly overrated"

I'm with you there. :)

Anonymous said...

I <3 me some dandelions! Weeds? Pish posh, I say!

Pam said...

Libby, my neighbors probably wish I didn't feel this way. But I think my yard looks just fine - when it is freshly mown. Which I don't do nearly often enough. ;-) Thanks for stopping by!

Pam said...

Eric, I had no idea you felt this way. I miss the days of my little boys bringing my dandelion bouquets. But I have a fine crop of yellow flowers in my yard right now. Maybe you could put a bug in Nathan's ear. (Not literally, of course.)

LisaAnn said...

What a beautiful blog. I love your humble honesty, compassion and optimism, and I'm sure it shows in all of your writing. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, and I think I'll take some time to read the rest of your posts... :)

Pam Asberry said...

Thank you so much for stopping by, Lisa Ann, and for your kind words. I try to live all those adjectives, and if that comes through in my writing, well, then I am succeeding. I hope you will visit often! :-)