I recently went to the aquarium with my family, sister-in-law and her children. As we walked into the South America exhibit, the first animal we saw was a duck. Immediately our children ran over to the small pond, and with excitement exclaimed, “It’s a duck!” The look on their faces was one of joy, wonder, and amazement. My sister-in-law turned to me and said, “Wow, can you imagine being that excited about a duck?” That comment left an impression on my mind as I started to ponder the gift of childhood and the wonder that comes along with it.
One of the beautiful things about children is their sense of amazement and wonder at the world around them. Children are like sponges, ready to learn about the things that they are naturally curious about. And with amazement, comes gratitude. As children learn about something new, they start to develop an appreciation for it. I have seen this in my own children as we have studied together in our homeschool. A lesson on rock formation has created an appreciation for the surrounding mountains. A lesson on how to watercolor has created an appreciation for beautiful artwork. In this, and many other ways, we can learn from children.
The following scripture found in Matthew 18: 2-4 touches my heart because it reflects the wonderment that children have for the world around them:
“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Young children are especially drawn to Christ and His teachings. Faith is a beautifully simple concept for them. I believe that encouraging this faith and wonder leads to experiences and feelings that children can draw upon as they get older.
As an adult, do you ever do things that elicit childlike wonder in you—like gazing at the stars, observing birds in flight or writing just for fun? I bet that as you engage in those activities and experiences, you fill your soul. Create opportunities to do this as a family, and not only will you begin to cultivate wonder and amazement, but you will also grow your testimony of Christ. Consider this quote by Bishop Gérald Caussé:
“To marvel at the wonders of the gospel is a sign of faith. It is to recognize the hand of the Lord in our lives and in everything around us. Our amazement also produces spiritual strength.” Gérald Caussé, "Is It Still Wonderful to You?" Ensign, April 2015, 98.
If you feel like you haven’t encouraged wonder and amazement in your children or that your children are too old, let me assure you that it is never too late. Begin where you are and choose experiences your children are interested in. Start cultivating wonder in yourself, and your children will learn from example.
- The Mindful Heart