Tag Archives: wonder

Fostering Wonder In Our Kids – Part 2

Shortly after the Good Friday service, my son inquired whether Easter morning might involve an egg hunt.  He asked in a nonchalant manner one would expect from an 11-year-old boy who desperately wants to hunt for eggs, but does not want to color them anymore or admit he still wants to hunt for eggs.

Photo Credit: watermarkimagingco via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: watermarkimagingco via Compfight cc

Fast forward to Easter morning.  My son emerges from his bedroom, blanket wrapped around him.  He proclaims “Happy Easter” to me and his stepmom.

We let the tension build for several minutes.

Finally, my wife said one of the puppies had found something interesting in the back yard.  You could notice my son looking out the windows and sliding glass door for some clue.  But, the small basket was invisible from his vantage point.  We suggested he go outside….

The little plastic Easter basket evoked a smile and we told him we re-hid one of the eggs (plastic) the puppy found.  He began the hunt, and drawing from several years of experience, had no trouble finding one dozen eggs.

He promptly opened them to find some coins, bills, and a coupon for him and a buddy to go to a local putt putt/amusement park he has been asking to go to.  Not a bad Easter.

Then the balloon popped.

Turns out the Easter egg hunt does not hold the same excitement it once did.  He had to admit it to us.

My wife then made a brilliant observation he seemed to appreciate and resulted in him perking up a bit.  She acknowledged as we get older, some of the things which amazed us as kids lose some of the wonder and mystery.  We figure out parents are Santa and the Easter Bunny.  The mystery of these amazing characters is replaced by the mystery about whether we will still get candy and gifts once we quit believing in them.

Then she offered some hope.

She told him as adults, we get to relive the wonder of being a kid when we become Santa and the Easter Bunny for our own kids, nieces and nephews, and later for our grandkids.  We get to be kids again, year after year.

My son may have just realized we enjoy these holidays just as much as he once did.  Maybe it will keep the wonder alive for another egg hunt or two.

I am already trying to come up with new hiding places for next year.

What is your favorite part about being a dad during holidays?

Fostering The Sense Of Wonder In Our Kids

Two nights ago, my wife and I asked the “youngers” (what I call the 10 and 11-year-old boys) what they wanted to do for a Saturday family fun night.  My two older stepsons were visiting my in-laws, so the youngers could choose anything they wanted.


Fear gripped me.  The thought of spending the same amount, if not more, for Red Lobster as I would at a truly excellent Mexican or Thai restaurant made me cringe.  It also reminded me of a book I read by Joe Queenan called “Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon” where he opined:

 The Red Lobster menu consisted almost entirely of batter cunningly fused with marginally aquatic foodstuffs and configured into clever geometric structures. I immediately began to suspect that the kitchen at Red Lobster consisted of one gigantic vat of grease in which plastic cookie molds resembling various types of food were inserted to create a structural resemblance to the specific item ordered. This was the only way to determine whether you were eating Buffalo wings or crabcakes. Technically, my dinner–The Admiral’s Feast–was a dazzling assortment of butterfly shrimp, fish filet, scallops, and some mysterious crablike entity. But in reality, everything tasted exactly like Kentucky Fried Chicken. Even the French fries.

But, I remembered getting excited to go to Red Lobster in the 1970s when my parents probably had the same reaction I did in 2016.

Photo by author.

Photo by author.

So, we loaded up in the truck and headed over to Red Lobster on a Saturday at 4:48pm so we could avoid the rush.  And I am glad we did.  By the time we finished at 5:50pm, the place crawled with predominately senior adults.

What is it about Red Lobster?  Is it the cheesy biscuits?  Is it the novelty of eating crab legs and shrimp?  Is it seeing the lobsters in the tank when you walk in?  The youngers confirmed each of those were awesome.

As we get older and responsibility increases…especially as single dads…we can lose sight of the awesome.  As my friend, @scottsavagelive, reminded his congregation yesterday, “familiarity kills wonder.”  Have I lost sight of the wonder and awesomeness of Red Lobster?

No, I tend to agree with Joe Queenan about the awesomeness of Red Lobster.  But I forget my son sees the things I find familiar in a completely different way.  He sees lobsters, paintings of lighthouses, nets on the walls, cheesy biscuits, peach lemonade, and the crab leg cracker with fresh eyes and a sense of it being special.  I see polyester and mediocre seafood.

However, I recognize as a dad I do not foster the sense of wonder enough.  I do not take enough time to ask him how he sees the world and what he finds amazing.

Engaging in this discussion with him may allow me a greater sense of awe for what I consider familiar, but is, indeed, amazing.  I want to foster a sense of excitement, not crush it.

What was amazing to you as a kid that your parents probably cringed at?  How could you foster a sense of wonder in your parenting?