Arts with Heart: Take Time to Appreciate the Wonders of Spring

The season has delights large and small that can be appreciated by children and adults of all ages.

Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld
Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld

Many variations of this story have circled around over the years, so you may ask, “Why tell it again?” Well, I’ll tell you. It’s a perfect story for any season or occasion. But now that we are celebrating the glorious months of spring, it will remind us of something important that we may have forgotten. And if we have forgotten it, chances are, so have our children.

The story goes like this: A teacher asks her high school students to list what they would consider the Seven Wonders of the World. After they thoughtfully wrote their seven suggestions, the papers were collected, and the most mentioned seven were written on the board. They were: 1. Great Pyramids, 2. Taj Mahal, 3. Grand Canyon, 4. Panama Canal, 5. Empire State Building, 6. Great Wall of China and 7. St. Peter’s Basilica.

Then, the teacher notices that one of the students, let’s call her Sally, was still working on her list, still thinking about the assignment.

“Is there a problem, dear?” the teacher asks.

Sally explains, “There are so many wonders—it’s hard to choose only seven!”

“Well, can you share with us what you have so far?” prods the teacher.

Timidly, Sally reads: “1. To See, 2. To Hear, 3. To Smell, 4. To Taste, 5. To Touch, 6. To Laugh, 7. To Love.”

A great silence filled the classroom.

In this awesome age of incredible technology, we are dazzled by the continual outpouring of more and more miraculous inventions and devices. How easy it is for us to take for granted Sally’s list of Wonders! “What a corny list!” some might say.

Once when I excitedly stopped the kids shooting hoops in the driveway and called them to come look at the first red tulip just blooming on the lawn, they dribbled over, glanced at the flower and told me, “Yeah, we saw it last year.”

Despite the difficult and painful challenges we are facing now, spring still will do what spring does! We will be surrounded by colorful blossoms to see, sweet lavender scents to smell, soft green grass to touch, warm air to feel, songs of returning birds to hear, tiny chicks to delight us, baby animals to love. What do we see with our eyes? Hear with our ears? Check Sally’s list.

When we lose the wonder of these Wonders, we lose the precious gifts we are given as part of the human family. But the arts help us remember and celebrate what we notice, appreciate and share.

Begin with yourself and pass the joy around—especially to our children. Chances are, the children will remind you, maybe even with Sally’s list in hand.

Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld is a longtime Columbus arts educator and author who works with children of all ages and encourages them to become creative, lifelong learners.

This story is from the Spring 2021 issue of Columbus Parent