One of the blessings I experienced as a boy growing up in the hills of West Virginia was the wildness of the world around me. Homes and communities were literally carved out of the forests and mountains. We lived in a small pocket of civilization and occasionally traveled to visit other small pockets of civilization. This meant that my world from the earliest years was bigger than my imagination. It was a world calling to be discovered and enjoyed—first in my own backyard, then in the pages of good books, then in the classroom with good teachers.
This is not to say that education goes hand in hand with geographic location. I don’t necessarily believe that where I grew up had as much to do with my education as how I grew up. My early lessons were lessons in wonder. I learned how to see the world around me. I learned to look through the eyes of a boy surrounded by a universe beyond my wildest imaginings. My first inclinations were not to understand but to enjoy and appreciate.
These are the “why” questions of a little child. They are not asking why the sky is blue out of technical curiosity. And if you try to answer that question with technical accuracy, your child will be either indifferent or disappointed with your answer. No, they ask why the sky is blue because that brilliant blue sky has captured their heart and mind. They ask out of wonder!
This upcoming school year all six of our children will be enrolled at the school where I also teach here in Monroe, LA. One of the reasons my wife and I appreciate Geneva Academy’s philosophy of education is this very understanding that education begins with wonder and is cultivated in community. Geneva’s students through 6th grade only attend classes until 1:00p.m. I know this can be an inconvenience for many parents and adds to some of the work required at home. It also means that not everything that seems good to learn can be crammed into the day. But it is very important that a student’s learning be rooted in life; for it is life in a family, in a community, in the created world where they begin to wonder and love in a way that leads to true learning.
There is a time for classrooms and books and hard-disciplined study. But it must be borne out of love for the King of kings and wonder at the world He is preparing for His people. He is giving us a world to discover and enjoy for all time world without end! May our every why be filled with wonder.