Sometimes I get these wild ideas in my head. For instance, I once read about this family that sold their house, kept only those things they could fit in their car, and set out to see the world. I picture them in my head hiking through rainforests and camping in Yosemite, learning French to Rosetta Stone as they wind up and down mountainsides and watch sunsets from the hatchback of their Subaru.
I raise an eyebrow at my husband when I finish telling him these things. He laughs and says, “Sure, sure we can. As soon as the adventure stops here, we can search for it out there.”
I look around and have to laugh myself. Lego mines everywhere; cars and trucks that rival a Texas car dealer lot; mismatched princess shoes and Nerf archery quills; fingers flying through the kitchen (“They’re spaceships, mommy!”). And then comes Danny, careening around the corner so fast on legs he just learned to walk on. You close your eyes and hold your breath to pray he clears that corner because you can’t get there in time to save him if he doesn’t and you can’t watch either.
I know that these wild ideas come when I’m feeling a little, well, comfortable. Things are clicking, in place, habits are formed, and we are humming along in work, at home, in life, around corners. Kids are learning. Leaders are leading. No one is bleeding.
So instead of converting an old school bus into a mobile home, I spend more time thinking about my own children and the kids at school I see, so animated with their friends about the jack o’ lanterns they turned into snowmen (thanks, Minecraft). The kindergarteners who quietly astound themselves when they read a word out loud and it makes sense to them (It made sense! Did I really just read that? IT MADE SENSE!). Some smile big and others try to stifle it, but their eyes convey something very similar: wonder, risk, willingness, enthusiasm, and excitement.
I decide (well, maybe I’m reminded) that routines and clicking and humming along are exactly what we want. Structure and routine don’t make us boring; they help us get better at what we do. They help us help others get better at what they do. Knowing what to expect gives way for the unexpected—adventure, innovation, and wonder—to be tucked in, around, and in between our routines (maybe even replace them once in a while).
The questions for us to ask, as adults and as educators, are these:
- What do I notice about my students when they are learning something new or talking about something they love? How do they look? How do they sound?
- Do I look like that? Sound like that? If yes, when? If not, why and what can I do to start bringing wonder, adventure, and excitement to my school, my classroom, my work? What did I see in my students that I want others to also see in me?
- Do I notice students who have lost the look and sound of wonder, adventure, and excitement? What can I do (what can we do) to help reignite it in them and in others?
- What opportunities for wonder, adventure, excitement, or just plain fun can we fit into our schedules once and a while?
If you want to start small, you can start with that habit of enthusiasm that Larry wrote about last week—approaching life with a spirit of excitement and joy and just so pleased to be here. Boy I loved that. I’m trying to work on it myself (oh look, wow, you applied your own Chapstick. To the carpet.).
Wonder and adventure are RIGHT HERE. They are tucked in between and around the routines we need and the discipline and practices we require to move forward, grow broader, imagine bigger, even read better. Let’s find it. But let’s bring more of it too.
Call to Action
Tell us where you find wonder and adventure. Tell us how you create it too.
Tell us about the indicators of effective practice that you love most. How do you put them to use? What do they help you see in your students and in your work?
The Indistar Connection
The indicators of effective practice in Indistar tell us what works to improve teaching, leading, learning and connecting. When we employ these practices well, it frees us up to discover, learn, and try new things.
Igniting Childlike Wonder
This video is part philosophy, part inspiration, part art gallery on why we must ignite our childlike wonder.