Anne Of Green Gables And Childlike Wonder

by Books | Our Favorite Catholic Books To Read, Family

“What was wonderful about childhood is that anything in it is a wonder.”

– G. K. Chesterton

As a child, I remember exploring in the woods for hours with my cousins, playing in the creek and climbing trees. I would get lost in my imagination and in the beauty of it all. As I got older, it was easy to forget about that time of playfulness and freedom to just be a child. This past year while reading the Anne of Green Gables book series, I was able to return to this state through her. 

The Anne of Green Gables series has been marketed towards children and is great for children to read, but I would say if you have not read the series, the best time to read them is now.  There is something about reading from the perspective of a child that will awaken the child in each of us, and Anne of Green Gables definitely will do this.  Anne Shirley is unfiltered, courageous, mischievous, quirky, and most noticeably—childlike.

Anne Shirley is the definition of wonder.  Despite all her misfortunes throughout her childhood, especially being an orphan and jumping from family to family her first 11 years of life, she sees the world with amazement and curiosity.  She never misses a moment to marvel at the world around her and as a reader you cannot help but long to have her eyes. 

I have included an excerpt from the book to get a taste of how Anne sees the world.

“Oh isn’t it wonderful?” she said, waving her hand comprehensively at the good world outside.
“It’s a big tree,” said Marilla, “and it blooms great, but the fruit don’t amount to much never—small and wormy.”
“Oh, I don’t mean just the tree; of course it’s lovely—yes, it’s radiantly lovely—it blooms as if it meant it—but I meant everything, the garden and the orchard and the brook and the woods, the whole big dear world, Don’t you feel as if you just loved the world on a morning like this? And I can hear the brook laughing all the way up here. Have you ever noticed what cheerful things brooks are? They’re always laughing” (Montgomery 31).

Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables. vol. 1, Bantam, 1987.

The world is sacramental. In the world around her, Anne sees God’s truth, beauty and goodness always. In her childlikeness, she is able to see the world as sacramental, as something that will elevate her to the divine, even if she does not realize this yet.

When was the last time you took a stroll in a park or watched the bees pollinate flowers, or sat in a field watching the weeds blow in the wind? Slowing down to admire the beauty around us returns us to our childlike state, and it is in this state we are more open to seeing God and His goodness. Reflecting on the beauty in the world around us opens us up to seeing the Lord’s grace in the day to day.  If we can retrain our brains to be childlike, we will evidently be drawn closer to our Creator and the mystery that is our life and His being. 

Now having a toddler and watching him be fascinated over how a ball fits into a hole or how the wheels turn on a car; awaken in myself a childlike wonder and I cannot help but slow down and contemplate more deeply the things occurring around me.

We may not be able to return to being children again, but we can bring back our sense of awe and wonder and change the way we see ourselves and the world.

I will leave you with one more excerpt from Anne as a last attempt to awaken your mind to desire childlike wonder. 

“Oh, look, here’s a big bee just tumbled out of an apple blossom. Just think what a lovely place to live–in an apple blossom! Fancy going to sleep in it when the wind was rocking it. If I wasn’t a human girl, I think I’d like to be a bee and live among the flowers” (Montgomery 59).

This article was originally published on More Then Entertained. Find more insightful commentary HERE.

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