Having a young son, I’ve recently been looking into theories behind learning. Interestingly, there’s a parallel between one of these theories and what a leading apologist says about God and Wonder…
Stages Of Learning
Piagetian programs are teaching methods based on Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and his concept of children’s stages of learning. These programs seek to focus on the thinking processes rather than outcomes and do not impose the adult thinking process on to children.
The Piagentian stages are as follows:
- Sensorimotor stage (new born – 2yo): Infants learn by the basic senses including seeing, hearing and touching and construct an understanding of the world by coordinating those experiences with physical, motoric actions.
- Pre-operational stage (2-7yo): Children understand basic concepts and symbols, but do not concrete logic and cannot mentally manipulate information.
- Concrete operational stage (7-12yo): Children start solving problems in a more logical fashion but abstract, hypothetical thinking has not yet developed.
- Formal operational stage (>12yo): Children and adolescents develop abstract thinking and are able to perform hypothetical and deductive reasoning.
God And Wonder
Interestingly, while the timing of it differs, there’s a resemblance with Ravi Zacharias’ discussion of what brings meaning in life.
Meaning in life needs 4 components…
- Childhood: Children are enchanted with life. They have the sense of wonder in everything they see.
- Teens-20s: Truth becomes supreme. Meaning requires more than just the experience and enchantment found in fairy stories.
- 20-30s: Love matures beyond romance and is found in terms of significant relationships/affections, commitment in family/friendships
- >30s: Meaning seeks security. Does what I believe in endure, stand the test of time beyond the grave?
What brings meaning is when you can combine a sense of wonder undergurded by truth, experiencing the richness of love with the knowledge of security – these 4 components are what it takes to create genuine meaning.
The older you get, the more it takes to fill your heart with wonder. Only God is big enough fill that.