The Real Seven Wonders of the World

Out of the mouths of babes comes a refreshing take on the world.

Reprinted with permission from "Bringing God Home" (St. Martin's Press).

If our children can't awaken us to what really matters, nobody can. Sometimes they come right out and tell us. Children are by nature unafraid to speak their minds (at least until we teach them otherwise). Not that they are perfect, only to be ruined by their elders. After all, children are human too. But they do have much to teach us, simply by the way they view the world.

Among my favorite "out of the mouths of babes" love stories comes one from a parishioner.This parishioner took his nine-year-old camping one summer. Until recently-when my family and I went down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and I learned better-my memory of camping was trout for breakfast: you catch it, you clean it it. With a far more reverent outlook, this fellow pulled out all the stops when introducing his son to the grandeur of the creation..

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This father is an architect. Judging by his buildings, I would conclude that the mountains and stars inspire him, though the towers he designs also supplant nature, dominating the heavens with their brilliant luminosity. When camping together, he and his son gazed upon a different sky, its heavens gently darkening until, one by one, the stars came out.

"This is the eighth wonder of the world," the man said to his son.

"What are the other seven?" asked the boy.

Can you name the Seven Wonders of the World, a group of remarkable creations of ancient times? When my parishioner shared this story with me, off the top of my head, I conjured up three: the Egyptian pyramids, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Colossus of Rhodes. Not bad. But just in case one of my own children should ask the same question on some future virtual camping expedition, I took out a little insurance, looking up the other four in my encyclopedia. Here they are: the tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus; the temple of Artemis at Ephesus; the statue of Zeus by Phidias at Olympia; and the Pharos (or lighthouse) of Alexandria. Of course.

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the Reverend Forrest Church
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