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Positively Beautiful: Feeling down? Dust off your Wonder Goggles

Dr. Susan Mathison

My 6-year-old, Grant, just got his first pair of glasses.

They are royal blue frames with bendable sides. He can twist them back and forth, and allegedly, they won’t ever break. I have my doubts.

Watching Grantie show off his amazingly cool, super-bendy frames – to just about anyone who will pause for a moment and watch – is a total delight.

So much enthusiasm, so much awe pouring out of his little body. He revels in the moment when his observer gets a flash of fright that they are witnessing spectacle destruction. And he laughs when they realize how cool the bendy frames are.

It’s rare to see “grown-ups” get that excited about, well, anything at all (Except maybe winning the lottery).

Raising Grant is a continual lesson in the power of wonder.

They say the feeling of time accelerating as we get older is because we have fewer novel experiences. We spend most of our day in oblivious routine. Travel and trying new things gets us out of our comfort zone and helps us open our eyes.

Thanks to my son, and most other kids, we’re reminded to put on our “Wonder Goggles” a little more often. Pausing enough to see and appreciate the world around us, instead of just scurrying from Point A to Point B.

Bilbo Baggins of “The Hobbit” said, “There’s nothing like looking if you want to find something.”

Moments of amazing-ness surround us, constantly, if we are only willing to look.

A bouquet of fresh flowers, a patient who’s made a beautiful recovery, the smile on a friend’s face, a lovely heart-shaped swirl of foam on top of a latte, taking a route through a new neighborhood.

Author Walter Isaacson wrote, “Throughout his life, Albert Einstein would retain the intuition and the awe of a child. He never lost his sense of wonder at the magic of nature’s phenomena-magnetic fields, gravity, inertia, acceleration, light beams – which grown-ups find so commonplace. ‘People like you and me never grow old,’ he wrote a friend later in life. ‘We never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.’ ”

I’ve come to believe that one of the major differences between a “happy” life and an “unhappy” one is simply how much you notice.

I was reminded to notice more during another Grant moment during which a trip to West Acres is fascinating – even when I don’t crack open the wallet. With endless curiosity, he would love to bring so many things home. I have to say no – a lot – but he was over-the-moon excited even peeking through the window at Spencer’s.

Because of the adult humor in the store, we stayed at the window, and watched the colored lights spin patterns on the floor and ceiling. Who knew that you could get a free laser show like that in Fargo? I never would have noticed without him.

So, thank a child today – your own, or somebody else’s – for reminding you to put on your Wonder Goggles.

And really, truly see.