Wonder is a Gift
by Kim Allen, Director of SHINE Children's Ministry
What can one learn by sharing a weekend with 35 families?
- Beetles are super cool and must be protected/saved at all costs. (Thank you, Amy Beaird.)
- Whipped cream is a wonderful weapon, especially when paired with a paper plate. (Looking at you, Amy Lee.)
- Fishing is still the most fun a boy can have with a stick. (The Thorp brothers led the charge on this one!)
- Combs are overrated. Ditto for baths. (Every child under seven.)
- Teenagers can actually have fun while they work. (Shout out to Work Crew!)
How did I witness these incredible truths? Observing. Listening. Slowing down. All these opportunities were afforded to me because I was somewhere where Wi-Fi was non-existent (much to my benefit) and there was nowhere else for me to go. Hence, there was space for wonder in my life.
Wonder is God’s generous gift to human beings made in His image. How can something so simple be so satisfying? Yet? But? Still? This is directly contrary to how I live on most days. Our culture is like the one described in Psalm 127:2, those who rise early and go to bed late, eating the bread of anxious toil. (Let it be known that I am preaching to myself.)
If I would only put my phone away and lift my eyes, I’d see things I’m missing on a daily basis. We’re not talking shuttle launches. We’re talking wonder: watching a three-year-old eat an ice cream cone or two little boys create a world from rocks, dirt and matchbox cars. We’re talking playing house, where I always have to be the baby, or listening to a toddler breathe while I read her favorite book.
Parents, if we can survive the mad-race-that-has-become-May, when we buy more cupcakes than should be allowed in a lifetime and pitch in for coaches’ gifts like we grow money on trees — once all of that is done— let’s slow down. Let’s slow the pace, leave the phone (whoever needs you can call you back), and look around at the wonder of a beautiful creation given for our enjoyment by the most generous Giver.
The Bible is full of wonder—treat yourself and read Psalm 104 or Psalm 139 or Isaiah 40 or Job 38. Consider the Creator and all that He has given to us. Marvel at His works. Take time, make time to enjoy it.
Think about and plan for simplicity and wonder with your family. This doesn’t need to cost any money; as a matter of fact, it shouldn’t cost money. Remember, wonder is a gift, and most definitely the opposite of hurry.
If you’re running short on ideas, here are some to get you started:
- Race sticks down the creek
- Listen for birds in the morning; try to identify them by their songs
- See how many lizards you can catch in one hour
- Visit a botanical garden and learn about five new flowers/plants
- Drive to the beach for the day and let everyone nap on the way home
- Try a recipe and allow everyone to help, even if it is messy
- Plant some seeds (everything grows in Florida!)
- Catch fireflies in a mason jar (my personal childhood favorite)
- Watch ants work
- Build blanket forts on a rainy day
- Visit an older neighbor, even for a few minutes
- Make a nice card for the postal worker and attach it to a cold bottled water
- Play catch
- Listen for crickets in the evening; record the time each day
The Breadbox is our Children's Ministry email. This monthly publication arrives chock-full information about SHINE, but also tips and resources on how you can disciple your small people.