Why? Why? The Wonder of Wondering

Wrote this post on 3.6.09 on my flight to New York for the Fishful Thinking symposium. Lost in the shuffle of a mad, mad week! :)

Alone with my thoughts. At freakin’ last. But you know what they say: be careful what you wish for. My inner dialogue for the first 20 minutes or so went a little something (ok, exactly) like this:

Ooh pretty mountains! What range is that? Rockies? Cascades? Boy I’m bad with geography. Look at that! What’s that river? I can’t believe that at one time this all was underwater. That’s crazy talk. I wonder how far up we are. Ooh look at THAT cloud formation! I wonder: do birds ever try to fly way up here? What happens: do they explode? (Start silently singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow). Why is it so flat down there now? How can people live where it’s so flat? Actually, how can people live away from an ocean? We need a beach house. The kids would love that. Where are we now? What on earth is THAT? Aliens? What time is it here? Why in the – hey, wait a minute. Who tooted? That most definitely was NOT me. What is it with planes and excessive tooting? Is it the air pressure? My hands are dry. Good thing I brought the Aquaphor. I love Aquaphor. I wonder…

And so on, and so on.

I wonder: when it is that we grow into adults who squelch this type of freeform thinking? Why is it adored in children (as in the phrase, “childlike wonder”) and yet frowned upon in adults? Why is it generally accepted that children will ask “Why? How? Why?” over and over again, but adults who constantly question are seen as nuisances?

I must admit: the above thought pattern? That’s my inner dialogue on a regular basis. Also: I wish this guy in front of me would STOP. FREAKIN. MOVING. HIS. SEAT. Back and forth, shifting all around, up and down. Good God, man, settle down!

Ok, where was I? Ah yes: wonder. I love it when my 4 year old asks questions. I especially love the Why questions. Because if you haven’t noticed, I personally enjoy asking them. A lot. I want to know why, don’t you? I love when my son asks me a Why question and I don’t know the answer. I love being challenged. Makes me hunt it down, figure it out. Also: makes me wonder Why too.

I hope my children never, ever lose their thirst for answers. When they are 15, 25, 45, 75… I hope they continue to ask questions and find wonder in the everyday norm.

UPDATE: On a related note, one of the take-aways I truly appreciated from my trip to New York for the Fishful Thinking Symposium was an activity which helps parents identify our own individual strengths as well as our children’s individual strengths (such as my son’s never-ending thirst for answers and curiosity about, well, everything in life), and how to work together as a family focusing on those strengths, understanding how they shape the different ways we approach life, and capitalizing on those strengths to bring out the positive in every day living. Learn more here.