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Brave Wonder

Children learn – but they also have much to teach Adults

Parents and teachers, how receptive are you?

“A brave and adventurous spirit, fueled by curiosity and wonder, can be motivating, and lead to greater knowledge, pride, joy, and creativity.” ~ Ignite Your Ideas, p 56

On the Home Front

Recently, I listened to a wonderful sermon by Rabbi Samuel Kaye wherein he focused on the importance of listening to children, and respecting their curiosity. He used the phrase “brave wonder” to describe children’s creativity, inquiry, delight, surprising insights, spontaneity, and magical moments of clarity. Moreover, he emphasized that there’s no end to what adults can learn from young people, and that we must always remain open to possibilities. Children’s messages, questions, realizations, and supportive actions can springboard intellectual advancement for parents (as well as caregivers, and others). In addition, what children say and do can spark adults’ creativity, kindness, and many and varied attributes—that which makes us who we are, or hope to be.

Rabbi Kaye discussed how brave wonder enriches family ties. In short, my key take-away was that the parent-child relationship is a life-long learning cycle, not a one-way street.

At School

I’m an educator, and so I cannot help but extend Rabbi Kaye’s perspectives to another learning environment—that of the classroom, where teachers and students regularly interact. The concept of educator-and-student parallels that of parent-and-child. These dual relationships are both comprised of “teachers” and “learners.” Again, however, it’s beneficial to use the brave wonder lens. Teachers can learn from their students, regardless of age, by way of a respectful and mutually nurturing cycle that deepens their dynamic.


What does all this mean in practical terms? At home, parents can strive to be attuned to each child’s needs, personality, individuality, interests, and areas of strength and weakness. Parents can provide opportunities for their children to ask questions, to play, to make mistakes (and learn from these), to engage in multi-sensory experiences, and to ask for help. Adults can be attentive, responsive, supportive, and patient, as children find pathways for fulfilment. Family members can listen to and encourage one another.

And in the classroom? …


Dr. Joanne Foster

Dr. Joanne Foster, an acclaimed author and educator, has dedicated over 35 years to gifted education and child development. With expertise in psychology and special education, her work empowers parents and educators, fostering creativity and high-level learning in children and teens. Dr. Foster has written countless articles, and several books—the most recent being Ignite Your Ideas: Creativity for Kids.

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