Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cultivating the Sense of Wonder ...

I make no claims about being a perfect parent. But, if there's one thing I feel that Casey and I have done right, so far, it's the fact that we've worked very hard to help Beatrice Kate cultivate and foster a sense of wonder about the world around her:
We're those parents. You know the ones. We limit television time to a very bare minimum. She has little to no toys which require batteries. Most of her belongings are made from wood or cloth and have very few plastic parts. We take the time to explain processes and answer her questions as fully as we can and it can take a very, very, very long time to get an explanation she deems adequate.

Go ahead and take a few minutes to get in a good eye roll. It's okay, we're used to it. It's challenging at times, I'll admit. How we've chosen to parent Beatrice Kate is often incredibly time consuming and yes, it would be a lot easier to do things differently sometimes (especially when she gets on a "Why" kick!). Let me be clear: I am in no way judging other parents and their styles. How you choose to parent is your right, and differences among families are a good thing. For us, our family, this is what works. As Bea's parents, we feel like it's our responsibility to help her make connections and leaps between Point A and Point B and to encourage her explorations into her world.
And the "payoff"? You guys it's incredible. She's so thoughtful and inquisitive. She's insightful and imaginative.
During last weekend's camping trip, I feel like we hit on something really special. We didn't bring a single toy, shut down all electronics (aside from my camera of course), and let Beatrice Kate create her own entertainment. She wasn't disappointed in the least. Every time I stood back to watch her, I was blown away by her creativity.

During the span of two days, Bea and Livvy built upon their Sense of Wonder:
Beatrice Kate pretended to be a hawk:

A salamander:
A pirate (of course):
With her sword by her side and at the ready:
She and Livvy spent time as "kitties" scratching their posts:
The girls made "soup" on top of Stone Mountain:

And Bea found a tree branch "perfect for sweeping off the path":
They formed a rock band:
Emphasis on "rock":
And in general, just played with anything and everything at their disposal. Even if that meant braving ice cold water temperatures for some splash time:

More than anything though, Casey and I were simply so proud of our girl's clear preference for The Great Outdoors and hope it helps her live her life intentionally someday:
 And we truly believe that if we do nothing else right, at least we got this one right on point:
Play, Incorporating Animistic and Magical Thinking Is Important Because It:
Fosters the healthy, creative and emotional growth of a child;
Forms the best foundation for later intellectual growth.
Provides a way in which children get to know the world and creates possibilities for different ways of responding to it.
Fosters empathy and wonder...

By suggestion and example, I believe children can be helped to hear the many voices about them.  Take Time to listen and talk about the voices of the earth and what they mean—the majestic voice of thunder, the winds, the sound of surf or flowing streams.
~Rachel Carson, A Sense of Wonder


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