“‘Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.’ of all the Sources, this may be the hardest for young children to grasp, yet it defines us distinctly as Unitarian Universalists. This Source is rooted in Transcendentalism, most notably in the thinking of Henry David Thoreau, who taught us to live in harmony with nature, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, who taught us we can directly experience the awe, wonder, and mystery in nature.” (From Love Will Guide Us, a UUA Tapestry of Faith program)
While perusing the internet for key words of mystery, awe, wonder and children I noticed many articles reflected on these words through nature. This article – Wonders of Nature – by educator Ruth Wilson articulates the significance of providing our children the opportunities of awe and wonder and the mysteries that nature delivers.
For a Unitarian perspective on God and mystery, check out this page from Quest for Meaning.
Parents, this month remember the words of writer and ecologist Rachel Carson: “If a child is to keep alive their inborn sense of wonder, they need the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with them the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”
I Wonder by Annaka Harris: Eva takes a walk with her mother and encounters a range of mysteries: from gravity, to life cycles, to the vastness of the universe. She learns that it’s okay to say “I don’t know,” and she discovers that there are some things even adults don’t know-mysteries for everyone to wonder about together! I Wonder is a book that celebrates the feelings of awe and curiosity in children, as the foundation for all learning.
The Everything Seed: A Story Of Beginnings is written by Carole Martignacco (the minister serving the Unitarian Universalist Church of North Hatley, Quebec) and illustrated by Joy Troyer (a Batik artist and seminary student). This the story of the very first seed, the one that unfold to become everything in the Universe. Author Carole Martignacco incorporates scientific theories while acknowledging the spiritual aspect of all creation in a work that will resonate with young readers of all religions and denominational backgrounds. The batik illustrations are beautiful, simple, elegant, and perfectly showcase a story of our beginnings that is as thoughtful as it is entertaining.
What’s Hiding in There? by Daniela Drescher: Young children will love exploring the world of elves and fairies, and this time there’s more to discover! Lift the three or four flaps on each page to find out what’s hiding in the old tree, in the nest, in the grass or under the leaves. The simple text, which asks ‘what’s hiding in there?’, is ideal for preschool children and up.
Butterfly Tree by Sandra Markle: A girl, her dog, and her mom see what looks like an orange cloud in the distance, so they set out to find out what it is. When they arrive at the cloud, they discover that it is not a cloud at all, but thousands and thousands of butterflies.
A Final Thought
An assembly without children is a deficient incomplete assembly not only because children are a vital chunk of any cross section of humanity nor because they represent our future, but because they are identified in the Judeo-Christian tradition as the bearer of the mystery.