Wondering about Wonder

I’ve wondered about my kids on this blog before.  I’ve wondered if you can teach optimism?  Turns out I don’t think you can:)


I’ve been wondering lately about wonder.  Can you teach a child to wonder about the world. To ask questions, to inquire, to be curious?


I don’t live in a family of talkers. Which is weird, because I am a talker.  When you come into the shop and I ask where you are from or what you are doing in town, I genuinely am curious.  But my family…we could be driving down the road and I’ll exclaim “Oh my gosh”.  It wouldn’t be strange if no one even acknowledged my exclamation.  Where is the curiosity? Didn’t they wonder what I saw or thought?


I’ll give you a few recent examples.


A few months ago, we had an extended family party at a park.  We loaded up the truck with our beanbags game, baseball mitts and coolers and backed down the driveway.  We got to the road and my husband unexpectedly pulled back into the garage.  He grabbed a pitchfork from the garage, put it in the truck, got back in the truck without a word and we backed down the driveway again.


Now, we don’t normally go around carrying pitchforks, so this is strange. I thought, I’m going to let someone else ask about the pitchfork. Even though my mind is screaming “WHAT IS THE PITCHFORK FOR?!”  Both kids saw the pitchfork.  No comments from the backseat at all. Didn’t the even wonder what the pitchfork was for?


I let the drive go on for a few miles until I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I say to my kids “hey guys, could someone craft a question for Dad about the pitchfork?”  Maggie says “Hey Dad, what’s with the pitchfork?”.  Jason says “we’re doing pitchfork throwing contests at the party”.  Obviously a joke, because that’s crazy. Neither kid bats an eye.  Oh. Of course. Pitchfork throwing contest.  As if we are in the habit of throwing pitchforks.  Not one follow up question or comment or even “come on dad”.  GAH!!


Another example happened a few weeks ago.  I was felting a bag in my front loading washer.  I was sitting in front of the machine looking in through the closed door.  Now, I don’t normally sit in front of the washer, in fact, I don’t think I have ever really looked at the wash as it was washing.  So this is unusual.


My son Max walked past the laundry room, looked at me, and kept on walking.  I didn’t get a “hey mom, whattcha doing there watching the washing machine”.  Seems an obvious question to me.  I would wonder.  So I say to him.  “Hey Max, come on back here and take my picture”.  I hand him my phone and he takes this pic.






He doesn’t ask why.  He doesn’t even seem to wonder why his mom just asked him to take a picture of her on the floor in the laundry room watching the washing machine.  How is that possible?


I say take another.


Please wonder

Please wonder

Nothing.  He hands me back the phone and off he goes.


I call him back.  “Hey buddy, did you even wonder why I was sitting on the floor in the laundry room looking at the machine?” He said “I guess.  What are you doing?”.  So I tell him and he asks a few more questions all on his own and then wanders off again.  Leaving me to the floor of the laundry room with my wonder about wonder.


The bag turned out great by the way.  In case you wondered, you can felt in a front loader. Oh and the pitchfork…it was borrowed and he was simply returning it;)



5 Responses to “Wondering about Wonder”

  1. Jean says:

    Hmmm, makes me wonder why your kids don’t wonder!

  2. Ellen says:

    I have 2 kids that don’t speak about things or ask questions either. Maybe they do wonder, but don’t say. But more likely they just aren’t as curious as some of us.That brings up more questions doesn’t it? Oh no!

  3. Jean says:

    Now I have to wonder…why did he borrow the pitchfork??

  4. Richard says:

    I wonder why people who wonder are wondering about! Maybe they are wondering where the yellow went ____ ___ _____ _____ _____ ____ _________!

  5. Kathleen says:

    Amy, thank you for your post! I think you CAN teach optimism & inspire wonder. The results won’t always be so obvious, but I keep on plugging along with my students & our 5-year-old grandson. You never know when wonder & optimism is going to pop out of our kids, so I say keep on teaching! And . . . I dare say that the incorrectly named “smart phones” have made optimism & wonder a more complicated skill.
    I miss you – there are not substitutes, ever, for Aimee & Carly & Darn Knit! XO:)

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