Friday, November 30, 2012

What is this "Wonder Approach"?

By Catherine L'Ecuyer

Mom... Why is it not raining upward? Why aren't the aunts lazy? Who wonders why all the time? The children! Why are we so bothered when they wonder why? Perhaps we think it is useless and there is no time for wondering why. Furthermore, we do not understand why are our children put into question the way things ARE.

When our children wonder why, they are actually wondered before the very fact of the reality around them. They wonder why things ARE, while they could very well NOT BE. This is, as Plato said, the beginning of philosophy! So when are our children are wondering why, they are actually philosophizing!

Chesterton graciously explained it when, referring to the children, he said "with each of them all things are remade, and the universe is put again upon its trial. As we walk the streets and see below us those delightful bulbous heads, three times too big for the body, which mark these human mushrooms, we ought always to remember that within every one of these heads there is a new universe, as new as it was on the seventh day of creation. In each of those orbs there is a new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea."

St. Thomas Aquinas use to say that "Wonder is the desire for knowledge". Nowadays, the educational system, the entertainment industry, among others, are acting on the presumption that children, and as a matter of fact, everyone else, is completely dependent on the environment to learn. And this is why we are surrounded by constant bombarding of information. It is as if everyone out there were competing to occupy a small space in everyone else's brain. Recent studies in neuroscience are telling us that we are not dependent on the environment, but rather at the expectation of it. In some way, a scientific confirmation of Chesterton and Aquinas' intuitions.

When children are surrounded by overstimulation, their natural sense of wonder disappears, the child becomes passive and, eventually, addicted to the external stimulus. The child alternates between the states of boredom and anxiety, which causes hiperactivity and lack of motivation. 

"The reason children are the future is not that they will one day be grownups. No, the reason is that mankind is moving more and more in the direction of infancy, and childhood is the image of the future." Milan Kundera

We need, more than ever, to let the children grow with a sense of wonder.

No comments:

Post a Comment