Walking in a winter wonderland

Christmas has come early for the children here: it’s been snowing! Such fun and excitement – it’s wonderful, which is kind of what this post is about.

I’ve been studying a bit of NVC with some friends, and the chapter we’re working on this week is all about “how to request things to make life more wonderful for us”, though I found that this phrase irritated me so much I couldn’t get past it, and had to keep putting the book down.

So I started thinking about the word “wonderful”. Full of wonder.

wonder v. 3 tr. desire or be curious to know

It has other meanings of course, such as: surprise mingled with admiration and curiosity; a strange or remarkable thing; having marvellous or amazing properties; a miracle.

In general, it’s a word that means good things, isn’t it? Wonderful! Great! Terrific.

But it also means ‘curiosity’, and that made me wonder whether these dual meanings are accidental, and to decide that they’re probably not.

When I’m at my best, I’m full of curiosity: wondering about the world, how things work, why things are and so on ad infinitum. When I’m a bit ill or down, my curiosity leaves me and my life, like my head, is really not full of wonder.

When I’m being kept to task on something against my wishes, there is no vestige of curiosity, or any other kind of wonder, left in my being. Just something approaching misery or resentful tolerance, or numbness and a feeling of being switched-off. A non-feeling, more precisely, that might well be stifled anger. As I’ve got older, I’ve learned that that’s a toxic state of mind for a person to be in: one of the many arguments in favour of autonomy – it’s good for your health!

Recent wonderings expressed around here have been about space, the relative size and structure of planets and stars, languages and politics (as ever) and a bit of physics too. The baby has started on Letterland already (though it only seems like too minutes since we were doing that with Lyddie!) But we’ve got these flashcards now, which have ordinary words on one side and Letterland-illustrated words on the other, so Lyddie reads the words while the baby names the characters.

I never, in a million years, imagined I’d use flashcards. Even less, that a child of mine would ever want to. But they do.

One question I’ve started asking is: “Have you got any questions about that?” and amazingly, lots of questions come by way of reply! I never realised to what extent people of all ages internalise their wonderings, perhaps not quite realising they’re there until they’re specifically asked about.

I feel better about the NVC thing now, anyway.


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Filed under Curiosity - a delicate flower, Reading, Seasonal stuff

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