Ever watch a small child with something they have picked up? How they study it and become fascinated by what they are looking at? Or how they will watch insects just crawl around? If you’ve done this, then you know that it will be followed by questions. Many questions! Oh so many questions. But….. the wonder and awe…. and joy in those questions.
I’ve always been curious about the world. Growing up on a farm, I had so much freedom to roam, search and discover. Some of the discoveries were amazing – watching a calf being born or holding a small chick were amazing. Climbing trees to touch the sky and lying on the hill in the pasture just watching the clouds flow by …. wondering how they stayed up there. I was actually disappointed when I learned that I couldn’t ride one. Somewhere along the way, that curiosity slowly changed into wondering about how things worked – how does a motor run? Taking things apart to find out and then putting it back together to see if, indeed, it would still run led to fixing things which led to breaking things to see just how far to the edge things could be pushed. Yes, I know what the sound of a blown motor sounds like!
The wondering about changed but I was still curious. However, being curious and wanting to know why, asking questions isn’t always popular. Or desirable. I learned that asking why wasn’t necessarily a great trait in the system of education. Eventually the wonder wandered. It was gone for a while, replace by the search to fit in and move up.
I almost missed finding my wonder, almost gave up that the best that I could hope for was to mull around the edges of fitting in. I almost missed it because I was scared. As Jamie Forest explores in her post What’s holding you back? fear holds us back and gives us an excuse not to. It reminds us that being curious has consequences that might not be pleasant so we back off. It keeps us from exploring and wondering. As Jamie says about sharing our ideas:
Deep down, however, the dialogue is different. Who would want to read it? My ideas aren’t worth sharing. My ideas aren’t original. What if what I write doesn’t match what I mean? What if I get negative, or downright mean, feedback?
Fear keeps us from wondering and then creating. It holds us back and reminds us that it’s safe. “Let others take the chance. A few might succeed but so many fail” bounce around whenever we begin to flirt with the idea of publicly sharing our wonder. We rationalize our fear – use big data to defend it – “There’s only one Great One.” We strip away the awe, wonder and curiosity in order to be safe. We forget to look at the ants in awe and wonder, instead thinking “I hope they don’t move any closer to the house. That will be a pain to get rid of them.” We see problems and roadblocks, ways that disappointment will lead to hurt and pain. “I just want a normal life” becomes something we allow to seep into our thoughts as Fear gains hold. “Be safe. You might not like your job but it’s safe. The pension is good. It’s only 8 more years.”
Safe. Secure. Without Risk. Life in a box …… let someone else take the chance.
I Danced in the Rain
This year I spent every weekday morning with my son being a stay-at-home dad and
I FOUND MY WONDER!
There it was, dancing and splashing in the puddles on a rainy day. My first urge was to stop it. To remind it that there would be wet shoes and sticky shirts and, even worse, sticky underwear!
And then I joined in. Splashing, dancing and catching raindrops on my tongue. I didn’t care if the neighbours saw us. Since then I have skipped across parking lots, rolled in leaves, stared at ants, rolled in the snow, gotten wet, cold, muddy and sweaty. I’ve played and read, coloured and drawn.
But I was still afraid to share what I was doing. Afraid because that’s not what real men do.
And then I wandered with wonder to the edge, a place I hadn’t been in a long time for Fear had told me that to fit in, being near the edge wouldn’t work. But the box of wonder had been opened and the lid wouldn’t go back on.
Being Curious is Where It Starts
This week, ISTE has been filling my twitter feed with updates and blog posts about different things. Some are the excited and exhilarating tweets of people who have found their WONDER again. Mostly, they tweet about tools and different ways that this or that technology has them wondering. They are curious. They want to know more. Some are disappointed by the lack of a shift away from the tech and tools. I get that – I’m not often wowed any more by a tool. And it is important to remember that learning is about relationships – helping others to seek and learn, to fan the flame of curiosity, awe and wonder despite the adult desire to calculate, allocate and fixate on data. Tools can enhance the learning in many, many ways.
Seeing adults excited and rekindling their wonder is a start. Excited about Genius Hour, Maker Space, Flipped Classrooms, Problem Based Learning, Justice Education, Emotional Intelligence, etc – moving past their fear to wonder and explore. That’s good. It’s changes the story we are telling, which changes the language we use to discuss learning, which allows for a different story to begin to filter to others…..
Being curious is where it starts.
Helping spark that curiosity is a gift of sharing wonder. No, not all teachers are joining in the discussion. But it’s more than it was – and that’s good!
Jana Scott Lindsay’s post Thinking Beyond the Box explores some of the reasons why teachers don’t blog and share.
These are only some of the questions that would most likely surface:What would I say?Who would read what I wrote anyway?How will I react to negative feedback?What if no one reads what I wrote?Why would I want to share my thinking with others?In reality, these are very natural feelings. Ones that seem to plague us as a society, no matter what age or category we fall into. Fear and insecurity have been known to drive us not only towards that box, but force us to exist entirely within it for most of our lives. Feeling safe is sometimes more than a fallback, it becomes a necessity.
Please join us as we take on a new adventure- follow along here at #skblog15Today might be the day that begins a journey that you will look back on years from now and wonder why it took so long. Unless you are willing to go beyond the box, you just might never know.
No More Box
I will not be confined by the box of Fear
Nor the worry that others will not understand
That some will push back while others ignore
Will no longer stop my Wonder and Awe.
No Box will inhibit my search at the edge
Nor will Fear keep me back from moving along
Looking and dancing and skipping and seeing
It’s time to Bust Open the Box that disabled
Wonder and Awe are back on the table.