I love learning. I want to go back to school like I want a hole in my head, but that has nothing do do with learning on my own.

Learning something new, unexpectedly, is such a delight. It’s like walking down a hall full of doors, some open and explored, some hidden, some locked, and stumbling upon a door I’ve never seen. Opening the door and looking in I see something completely unexpected, something new and interesting. It’s pure delight. Once I’ve gone through that door and fallen in love I have to find everything I can on the subject, exhausting it. I do have specific interests, but my “unexpected” finds have been as varied as the science of diving, autism, shipwrecks, string theory, forensic science (the yucky kind), thirteenth century British history, rare neurological disorders, the history of weather forecasting, etc. I haven’t worried about how any of this will assist me in daily life, and we don’t have cable so I can’t watch “Jeopardy”. My bookshelves would make some people blanch. I’ve long since ceased to care.

Loving learning is something you see in children, the ones that haven’t had it squashed out of them. A child can lie on his stomach for an hour, watching ants march back and forth across a sidewalk. When you show them how baking soda and vinegar react they react likewise. They pick up books at the library on anything.

A sense of wonder goes right along with it. How can a scientist be a good one if he has no sense of wonder? Can an astronomer stare into the heavens thinking “ho hum”? Supernovae are wonder and joy-inspiring, but so are airplanes (I love watching planes – will never ever tire of it.), trains, rainbows, thunderstorms, newborn babies, sunsets, waves at the beach, and Christmas lights. Grown-ups, of course, are not supposed to say, “Look! A train!” when alone in the car. I can explain the exclamation away as habit, but not the excitement.

I guess I don’t ever want to grow up. I’ll be that grey-haired woman, stooped and wrinkled, standing outside the airport garage, staring up into the heavens as a thousand tons of steel glide past, the sound more palpable than audible, exclaiming,

“Look at the airplane!”

9 thoughts on “Wonder

  1. I so loved this post.
    It bothers me very much how school systems deprive children of this enthusiasm and eagerness to explore the world. I watch children lose all interest by the time of ten-maybe even younger- and perceive all offered knowledge as a heavy yoke… Of course that has a lot to do with the one who offers, and how enthusiastic they are about the whole venture of educating children. But i still do think that the school system (at least where i am) is guaranteed to achieve the great achievement of turning children from ecstatic little sponges to drained, bored, passive and almost aged individuals in no time… Unfortunately. If i ever had children of my own i would look into homeschooling options, even though i don't think there are any where i live.


  2. Hey, I even love going to school. I enjoy the back and forth of ideas in a college classroom.

    I thought I would love being a teacher, to share my love of history, geography, and English literature with students. It didn't work out like that for me. I loved my students, and I loved the subjects I taught but I found the bureaucracy of the public school system to be so draining. The endless paperwork, the endless “improvements” that never seemed to improve anything, the endless issues with discipline.

    My husband has been a college professor for over 30 years and even in his small school the bureaucracy mindset has seeped in. Now he has to deal with endless paperwork (NOT grading student work, but constant reports about things to the administration) endless “improvements” that don't make any difference in the long run, etc. It's a shame, really.


  3. Hurrah for bursting bookshelves and no cable! (My children think they are the only ones who live like this.) Hurrah for keeping alive that innocence that finds wonder in everyday things! Hurrah for the moms and dads who value this and nurture it in themselves and their children! Hurrah for the fruits of this: children who put imagination into everything they do, playing and thinking and writing and creating! The great minds of this world were and are minds like these!


  4. I love learning too, but my last experience teaching college English was miserable — so few had a real desire to learn a new skill, or to open one of those doors in their own hallway.
    When my son was in sixth grade he said, “Mom, I love to learn. Why do they have to make it so boring?”
    PS re: string theory: there's a Nova episode about that which I've tried to watch a couple of times. Fell asleep about 15 minutes into it.


  5. yay for no cable… I don't even have a TV; have not missed it but know if I had it I would be a zombie. Internet is enough for me, more than enough! LOL…

    wonder and learning – two great things.

    It is hard to make it in this world (reading the comments above) w.o admin burdens; but the fact that there are still books and places to learn are great; as a librarian I can only say, keep supporting your libraries! They need it, as city halls or universities often think that library budgets should be cut, sometimes very drastically…


    I hope I don't lose my sense of wonder…

    love to you.


  6. We dropped our cable when we went off to seminary to save money… and then we realized we didn't miss it at all. To be fair though, we have Netflix for the occasional watch-the-entire-Star-Trek-Canon marathon and we have internet, so we probably still waste more time than we should…

    Majoring in history almost squished my love of reading (my other major-chemistry never got old!), but lately I find myself recovering and picking up something more difficult than Where the Red Fern Grows once in a while. 🙂


  7. What a great post….my oldest is only 4 and I am praying to be able to instill a LOVE of learning in her like this. Sometimes, I somewhat “rate” my day as to whether or not I gave her the opportunity to do that. Many times I feel I fail miserably…but we keep striving forth !
    Thanks for the inspiration.


  8. Matushka, good for you! For some reason, the sense of wonder is frowned-upon in the adult world. I don't get it. At work, moments of awe happen to me almost every day, and it's hard not to express the joy. But apparently others expect you to hold it in and be cool(“Hey Dr. So-and-so! Yay! You called me back! So that's how a pager works…” is not met with much enthusiasm). I'll keep this post in mind:)


  9. Mary, that made me laugh because I remembered a moment from about 10 years ago when I had paged a cardiologist, thinking irritatedly that it would be at least 30 minutes and another page before he called me back. (He had a reputation.) He called back in THREE minutes and I said, “Wow! That must be a record for you!” I was met with silence and said, “Well, so anyway, the reason I paged you…” (c;


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