“Mom, did you know that when they first discovered the apatosaurus, they got the neck and the tail mixed up, so they accidentally put the head on the tail?”
“Mom, did you know the quetzalcoatlus was the largest flying dinosaur?”
“Mom, did you know that the spikes on a stegosaurus’ back could change colors with its mood?”
“Mom, did you know that there is no such thing as pterodactyls because they are actually called pteranodons?”
We are clearly in full-on dinosaur mode at our house. Dino jammies, dino shirts and dresses, dino books, dino shows…you name it, we probably have the dino version of it.
And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that, at this point, my kids’ dinosaur knowledge far surpasses mine. Yet even though most of the facts they rattle off are new to me, it takes deliberate action on my part to be as excited as they are.
Another big thing for us now is space. Planets. Stars. Astronauts. My three-year-old was recently given an astronaut costume (that is quite adorable, I might add). When he wears it, he proudly announces, “Mom! When I get big, like maybe six or something, I’m going to be an astronaut in the air sa-force! I promise I’ll bring you a Mars rock.” (Of course, I did not correct a single thing in those statements.)
They are so fascinated with the great beyond. They’ll never see a real dinosaur. They’ll probably never fly to Mars. Yet in our living room every day, dinosaurs are right there with them. Space is just a thought away, and reaching it is no bigger a feat than building a fort in the backyard.
I love it! I love how extinction and thousands of miles of space are minor details that don’t deter them from their fascination and wonder.
Their wonder fosters praise. We sometimes talk about God as our “Creative Creator.” These things that fascinate my kids–black holes and dinosaur tails–came from our Creative Creator. And for my kids, who are so adept at wonder, it’s not a huge leap to go from marveling at the creation to praising the Creator. “Well of course God made it!” they so easily declare. “He made everything!”
Yet, as easy as it is for me to adore my kids’ capacity for wonder, it’s much more difficult to cultivate wonder in myself. I can quickly lose sight of God as my Creative Creator. As a big grown-up with lots of responsibilities, my wonder of Him can start to become dependent on how I see Him moving in my life. (Consequently when I don’t sense his movement, he seems a little less “wonder”-ful.)
Why is wonder for wonder’s sake so hard? Why can’t we think of these incredible things God created, like ginormous beasts with tiny arms that were somehow the tyrant kings of the dinosaur world, and marvel at His awesomeness? Why do we struggle with praising Him for things that have absolutely zero effect on us, like (get this) a black hole that is thirty million light-years away, the size of one million of our suns, and (wait for it) in the shape of a cross! (That gem is from one of our favorite books for inspiring wonder: Indescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids about God and Science. For dinosaur lovers, check out: Dinosaur Devotions: 75 Dino Discoveries, Bible Truths, Fun Facts, and More!)
Cultivating wonder as busy, logical grown-ups isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile. I love this insight from our pastor Brady Boyd:
“If we lose our intellectual curiosity, it’s not too big a leap to envision losing our spiritual curiosity too. If we lose our sense of wonder over creation, do we lose our wonder for the Creator next?” 1
Wonder may seem “extra,” like a luxury, but it is actually essential. This is where our kids can teach us.
You guys, I miss being excited about things like dinosaurs. I miss feeling that childlike awe. When I hear, “Mom, did you know ichthyosaur babies were born tail first, because if they were born head first they would’ve drowned before they could reach the water’s surface to take their first breath?” I want to celebrate how perfectly God created everything. Maybe you do, too.
Well, here’s some good news: When we feel like something is missing, we can go to the source of all things. We can ask our Creative Creator to recreate a sense of wonder in us. We can look to his word and remember:
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of His hands… in the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun.”Psalm 19:1, 4 CSB
Friends, let’s enjoy the pure artistry of God more. We can let our kids’ love of dinosaurs and space (or horses and narwhals) remind us of our God who created the universe. When we do, may we also remember how much he loves us.
Dear mama, the God that spoke the stars into existence knows you by name. He knows the number of hairs on your head. His might is beyond compare, yet He knows you intimately and personally. That’s the God we get to discover!
How are you learning from your kids these days? How are they helping you increase your sense of wonder? We’d love to learn from you, so just pop down to the comments section to share.
1 Boyd, Brady. Let Her Lead. Colorado Springs: Bondfire Books, 2013.