Extra downtime can serve as a way to connect in newfound ways and gain a fresh perspective as a family. CCA Math Teacher Laura Beth Hendry shares five ways parents can spur their child(ren)’s mind toward creativity, curiosity, and reverent wonder toward the things God has perfectly created and orchestrated.
Why is the water so brilliant and blue? How deep is the water? How do you get to the bottom of this mountain? How cold is the water? Are there fish in the water? How many other people have stood here? How many trees are down there? If God has made this landscape so breathtaking, how much more incredible Heaven must be?
Along with grit, curiosity is a character trait that leads to success in the classroom and in life.
The picture you see above is of Peyto Lake in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Last summer I took this picture while standing on a lookout with lots of other nature lovers. While standing there, captivated by the incredible beauty my eyes were beholding, I was asking those questions, filled with reverent wonder and curiosity. In my life, I have had many experiences that have piqued my curiosity and inspired me to want to know more. Along with grit, curiosity is a character trait that leads to success in the classroom and in life.
God’s Word gives us this truth in 2 Peter 1:5-9, “So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities, you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.” This passage from The Message succinctly sums up how to be a success in this life in the eyes of the Lord.
“In our technologically saturated society, what are intentional opportunities, we as teachers and parents can make to foster curiosity?”
Reverent wonder and curiosity go hand in hand. Reverent wonder leaves us awe-struck like the mountain vista above or the ferocity of a giant hurricane in the Atlantic or the sheer awesome smallness (yet enormity) of a baby growing inside a mommy. These wondrous things ignite my curiosity, and as a teacher I must ask, “In our technologically saturated society, what are intentional opportunities, we as teachers and parents can make to foster curiosity?”
The world needs curious problem solvers who have a biblical worldview.
God gave us all character traits, and as parents and teachers, He has charged us with fostering them within ourselves and our children. Here are a few opportunities that can spur your child(ren)’s mind, and hopefully your own as well, toward creativity and curiosity:
InspirationLots of children need a little coaxing to realize that they want to know why or how something works. As parents, we need to invest the time and money into opportunities that will allow our children the time and challenge of tinkering and creating. Granting our children the opportunity to experience the laws of gravity, to budget, plan, and implement a project, to see great works of art (which can happen online from the comfort of your home!), or to climb a mountain inevitably inspire curiosity and wonder.
Taste and SeeExploring with their eyes, hands, ears, noses, and taste-buds intrinsically whets their appetite to know more. At CCA, there are an abundance of programs and extracurricular activities that encourage and allow for these experiences. As a teacher, I know that when we bring real-world applications to the classroom, it makes the learning faster, far more relevant, and requires much less reteaching; the students then own the information.
A few summers ago, I taught my youngest, Timmy, what fractions were all about by baking cookies using only a ¼ cup measuring cup. Since then, he has an adept understanding of fractions, and not to mention, he has become a great sous chef in the kitchen!
Be intentional with asking questions that inspire wonder.
But why?In our results-driven, fast-food, quick-prep society, we often focus on the answers or end result rather than appreciating the process. We need to encourage questions from our kids, even solicit them, and answer their questions with even more questions! Be intentional with asking questions that inspire wonder. By asking such questions, we develop life-long learners and problem solvers. The world needs curious problem solvers who have a biblical worldview. “When our curiosity is triggered, we think more deeply and rationally about decisions and come up with more-creative solutions” (Gino, 2018).
Failure is necessaryWe also need to embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and explore new options, ideas, and processes. Thomas Edison said, “I have gotten lots of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work!” Thomas Alva Edison was widely known as America's most prolific inventor, even after his death in 1931. He held a total of 1,093 U.S. patents (1,084 utility patents and 9 design patents). Edison never let his failures stifle his curiosity. He persevered, and we still enjoy the fruits of his passionate curiosity and tenacity.
Are [your child's toys] fostering creativity, or are they for their entertainment?
Face to faceFinally, encourage creativity and curiosity with the toys and electronic devices you buy for your children. Are they fostering creativity, or are they for their entertainment? Are the toys or devices discouraging social-emotional skills and hindering social engagement and discourse? Recently, while listening to the Brian Buffini podcast, he and his wife, Beverly, who are parents of six children, discussed the importance of being engaged with their children and the joy they found in being together and playing together. They spoke of enjoying interesting conversations over dinner that were about current events, politics, and culture and how investing in intentional quality time resulted in raising socially adept adults.
Our children need us to guide them into opportunities where curious thoughts can be inspired and cultivated. When failure and frustration come along (notice I said when and not if), we need to be there to wipe the sweat from their brow and gently nudge them to keep trying and thinking. Most importantly, have fun engaging your kids! Talk to them, answer their questions with questions, and “grow up” an adult who will be a life-long learner and thinker filled with reverent wonder.
Our children need us to guide them into opportunities where curious thoughts can be inspired and cultivated.
Laura Beth Hendry has been serving in the high school math department at CCA for 14 years. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Kal, and they have three children: Andrew (CCA Class of 2016 graduate), Kaley (CCA Class of 2017 graduate) and Timmy, currently in 6th grade. She loves watching her kids play volleyball and hockey, cooking and baking, and travelling with her family to beautiful places. It is her joy to see students engaged and learning in math class and then moving on to become successful adults who love Jesus and their families.