Friday, November 6, 2009

A Quote by Annie Dillard

Young children have no sense of wonder. They bewilder well, but few things surprise them. All of it is new to young children, after all, and equally gratuitous. Their parents pause at the unnecessary beauty of an ice storm coating the trees; the children look for something to throw. The children who tape colorful fall laves to the schoolroom windows and walls are humoring the teacher.

-- From An American Childhood

I probably should add that as much as I love this quote, I'm not sure I agree with it. The examples of snow on the trees and dead leaves might be correct, but there are an equal number of times my boy has shown a sense of wonder. More than that, the sense of wonder is not limited to the New. A sense of wonder is shown every time a bus goes by. A sense of wonder, not bewilderment, is expressed when the neighbors blow bubbles around him. To a large extent, I see a sense of wonder every morning when he wakes up. The snow, the leaves, and the giraffes above might mean nothing to a child, but that only means he doesn't need us to guide him toward Wonder. He'll find it on his own.


  1. I agree that kids can at times have a tremendous sense of wonder. They are seeing so much for the first time that we have long since gotten used to.

  2. Steve, I know. But at the same time I will go to a lot of trouble to show him something amazing and he just won't care. Like a giraffe. How can you not be amazed by a giraffe? But kids make their own rules.



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