I Wonder

by Mary Johson, Director of Children's Ministries and All Things Bright & Beautiful

I wish everyone could come spend a day at All Things Bright and Beautiful to experience first-hand the love, concern, cooperation, wonder, respect, and compassion that the children demonstrate every day. I say this because, as a news junkie, I am just about to give up on watching any news - anywhere - because of the rancor that is exhibited by ALL the political candidates. Synonyms for rancor include: acrimony, bitterness, malice, vindictiveness, spite, meanness, to name a few. Yep! That about sums up the dialog in every newscast. And it is not political party specific.

I'm not sure when or how this country will get past it. Maybe we'll just have to wait until this current enrollment at ATB&B have voices that will be heard over all the embattled contests. That might be an awfully long time to wait. So perhaps in the meantime, it is up to every adult to counter an attack - whether religious, political, or social- with a simple question that might defuse the situation. Maybe the simple question of "I wonder why you think that?" or "I wonder why you are feeling that way?" When the opportunity for conversation is predicated with a wondering question, it opens up all sorts of possibilities. It is an invitation to have an open and compassionate conversation.

Definitions of the word wonder include: 1) something or someone that is very surprising, beautiful, amazing, etc.; 2) a feeling caused by seeing something that is very surprising, beautiful, amazing, etc.; 3) something that is surprising or hard to believe. The word wonder has very positive implications. To wonder with someone is so much less combative than outright attacking someone whose beliefs are different from yours. So for all the future debates may I suggest the format we have here at ATB&B and in our Sunday Children's Chapel? We wonder a lot about things and resulting conversations are inspirational! What if the moderators begin with "I am wondering?" I am quite certain it won't play out that way. But much like the children in our Sunday Chapel, and All Tings Bright and Beautiful, I can certainly wonder what that would look like.

These are the things I learned in Kindergarten:
 
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life: learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish, hamsters, white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die; so do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned: the biggest word of all is LOOK.

                  All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
                  Robert Fulghum