A guest post by Pasquale (Pat) Mingarelli of The Creation Speaks
Most parents know that children see the world differently. Things they find fascinating often whiz right in front of us and we don’t even notice them. Children see the world with what I call “eyes of wonder”. As we grow older, we too easily lose those eyes of wonder and so can our kids. Getting kids outside while they are young is a great way to utilize those eyes of wonder to help them learn about God. Our Lord created and filled the natural world with wonder.
As a child, my friends and I spent plenty of time outside. We grew up in a neighborhood with a creek, open fields and some wooded areas. All that made for a great playground with much to find wonder in.
Eyes of Wonder and Milkweed
While exploring the fields in the late summer we would come across milkweed pods. We would open them and find the seeds attached to white stringy stuff in a sticky, milky sap. As summer turned to fall the remaining milkweed pods dried out, but that is when the fun and wonder really began. We took the dried ones, open them up and watch with wonder. Out popped the seeds with their little feathery “balloons”. We blew the seeds at each other and flung the whole opened pod at one another and watched the seeds fly upon impact. Sometimes we just opened them up and the let wind take them. The seeds filled sky—well at least it seemed that way to children with eyes of wonder.
Fast forward into my parenthood. Sadly, my kids are like most American children today. They do not have the same outdoor opportunities I did. But thankfully, they probably get out more than most.
Eyes of Wonder and a Teachable Moment
On a windy Autumn day during some family outdoor time we came across a patch of milkweed. I showed my young children how to pop open the pods. With eyes of wonder they watched how the seeds spread in the wind.
We came across even more milkweed pods along the trail. I decided to used this “eyes of wonder” moment to teach them about our wonderful Creator. I described to them how this is God’s way of making sure that plants will grow in new places next spring.
In addition to this wonder, God also uses the milkweed plant to feed the monarch butterfly caterpillars. No milkweed, no monarchs. The more the seeds spread around, the better it is for the monarchs. God takes care of His creatures.
May we all use our children’s eyes of wonder to teach them about God. And may we also learn from our children and look at creation with our own eyes of wonder.
Pasquale Mingarelli is a longtime professional photographer and photography instructor. He speaks on creation through the eyes of a photographer and runs the The Visual Bible Verse of the Day website. The site encourages people through God’s Word and God’s Creation. You can learn about “Eyes of Wonder” on his site. He lives in Bellevue, Nebraska with his wife Patti and their two children.
Cheri~ If you visit my website on a desktop, you’ll notice a small, lovely picture in the lower sidebar. For years I’ve shared Pat’s photography and Scripture links because they are both beautiful and lead us to worship God through his Word and creation. In this article you can see the way even the ‘common’ things God has made can open our hearts to honor our true Creator!