Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Turn to WONDER .....

When the going gets rough, turn to wonder...

WONDER = being open to learning and seeing with "soft eyes".  WONDER = turning from reaction and judgment to curiosity and compassionate inquiry.  

This was one of the seven touchstones we used to guide our work when I was blessed years ago to participate in the work of Parker Palmer through The Courage to Teach program (now the Center of Courage and Renewal ).  And I carry that precept with me every day because I need to.

Turning to wonder is hard for me.   I tend to go to judgement ... or explanation or even fixing.   It takes intentionality and practice for me to wonder compassionately about why someone is speaking or behaving a certain way (especially when I get my dander up).   And it takes even more intention to turn inward and wonder why I am reacting the way I am!!

Writing for children makes me curious about new kids' books on the market.  This past year the buzz around the middle grade fiction book Wonder by R.J. Palacio grabbed my attention.  Besides, I LOVED the title!

It's been sitting in the stack.  I finally got to it last week and met August Pullman.  Ten years old.

My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside.  But he was born with severe facial abnormalities.

Yes, there have been books like this out there for some time. But R. J. Palacio nails the nuances of kids, and cliques and bullying and acceptance and appearance and being mean and being nice... and in the process, teaches all of us about turning to wonder. 

I want you to read it.  And especially if you have kids or grandkids or a classroom or a family,  I want you to read it out loud and talk  about it.  I want  more teachers to put "Mr. Browne's Precepts" or their own precepts on their classroom white boards each month....

 When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind  --- Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Your deeds are your monuments --- inscription on an Egyptian tomb

I want more teachers to ask their students to come up with their own precepts and have them talk about why they chose it and how it impacts their life.

I obviously loved this book .... it is a WONDER of a book!  For me, it shouts out loud that precept I both embrace and struggle to uphold...

When the going gets rough, turn to wonder.