It is no secret that I love Sally Clarkson. She and her husband were pioneers of the homeschooling movement and have published a number of great books that keep my kids busy. I did have a favorite. It was The Life-Giving Table. It was my favorite until Awaking Wonder came out last month.
Awaking Wonder is a memoir of sorts. It's Sally's memories of her time with her children. It is full of great stories on how she awoke wonder in each of them.
It has a great start and I will lay it out for you:
"Memorable and momentous occasions rarely announce themselves ahead of time, but tiptoe quietly into the corners of lives and yet leave a profound influence. So this particular evening stands out to all of us as sort of mysteriously sacred shared events that shaped a deep part of our souls.
In the late evening just after sunset, chill mountain breezes of a summer night twirled around us, and I shivered involuntarily. Thousands of stars shone above like diamonds of a velvet cloak and beckoned us to stop, to enter into their reality.
Tonight we should sleep out under the stars, I thought. I had not seem such a cloudless, clear view of the night skies in a very long time.
When I announced my plan, excitement burst forth through squeals, jumping up and down, smiles that lit up the room. Making plans and giving orders, I bustled about, dragging sleeping bags and pillows onto our deck. At 7 300 feet in elevation, our little rustic home was tucked at the foot of the towering Colorado Rockies, bordering 25 000 acres of national forest.
We were surrounded by the long, dark shadows of the trees waltzing to a mountain song, and the pine forest, whistled as the breeze gently moved branches back and forth. We found ourselves invited to a dramatic performance by an infinite array of stars twinkling across our night sky.
Here, away from the lights of the city, the whole world of sky sparkled with movement and flashes as though elegantly parading in the heavens, in sync with the pine trees. We considered that we had box seats and were audience to the angels rollicking, swirling in the light, moving to the rhythm of the swaying branches, just for our pleasure. Our magical night world was awash with mystery and whimsy.
Four-year-old Joy plopped into my lap as I eased onto our old wooden bench. Her brother, Joel, twelve, and Nathan, ten, ran wildly up and down our deck, yelling, punching, giggling, and point to a shooting star here and the Milky Way there.
Clay, my husband, turned up the soft acoustic music from inside the home so that a symphony of haunting melodies accompanied this transcendent evening of delight. The night sky darkened and marked the time for us to cuddle for warmth in a pile under the sleeping bags. We all lay flat on the creaky deck, looking into the showcase of myriad glimmering lights. In this auditorium of splendor, we all marveled. An almost sacred hush fell over us and gave us calm and peace to our previously distracted souls.
Sarah, at fifteen, was wrapped in a warm quilt. Hidden in a dark corner, she watched the beauty in the same comfort of her private imaginations.
All of us were wonder-struck at the infinite stars, the sky chandelier shimmering, the vastness seemed to quell any small worries or issues that had troubled us before, and we breathed release and felt peace. Each of use were caught in our own 'mind castles', where feelings and thoughts danced through our wonderings, elegantly, freely, in celebration of the grace of our moments.
The six of us were invisibly joined together as the threads of our hearts were woven through the unspoken sharing. As we sat in reverie of the grandeur, we were enveloped with the sen of an artist greater than us, and with an awareness of the small but hidden in our Creator's magnificence. Merely to be in the vastness of such a display of power and beauty all at once to witness sublime reality beyond our comprehension.
We were captured in the wonder of it all, together" (p. 12-13)
This is her description of wonder, amazement, and glory.
There are other gems in the book. Here are a few to whet your appetite.
"Every child is a miracle. Every single one. Each is born as a seedbed of potential for loving, thinking, creating, giving, working, and so much more" (p. 28).
"Make it a goal to give your child an environment in which they can be curious about ideas, stories, and people" (p. 36).
"The second goal was to provide my children a foundation of unconditional love and deep acceptance for them as human beings with unique personalities, drives, skills, and abilities" (p. 37).
"I desired that our children not be confined to a reductive faith that was based merely on moralism, rules of behavior, pedantic philosophy. Instead, I wanted to embody an authentic faith in a personal God, the artist, the lover, the holy one - one beyond our ability to quantity. I wanted them to grow up in the oxygen of His reality embodied through all the moments of our lives" (p. 38).
She speaks of mentoring and how to do it. She speaks of forming faith through imagination and wonder. She speaks of how to grow faith. She speaks of pursuing treasures of knowledge to fill a mind.
Pick up this book because it is a treasure. It is a treasure of knowledge that should be shared with the world.