I hate to admit how long it took before I finally read the book Wonder. My two older sons had both read it and loved it, but I wasn’t finding the time to read as much as I would have liked, so it was several months later before I picked it up. I read it from cover to cover in just a couple days. I laughed. I cried. I was overcome with all the feelings and Wonder instantly made it into my top ten favorite books of all time.
We didn’t make it to the movie version while it was in theaters, so when the Wonder DVD arrived last week, we watched it as a family right away. I was immediately drawn back into the reasons I loved the book so much, particularly the importance of perspective in our lives.
Many books are written from only one person’s point of view, but Wonder looks at the same events and period of time from many different perspectives. I was happy to see the movie followed the same format and it led to a great discussion with our family. Here were three of our most significant takeaways (and great discussion starters), in the form of Mr. Browne’s precepts…
The things that make me different are the things that make me me. – Piglet (A.A. Milne)
Why do differences in people scare us so much? God did not create us to be clones, he created us each uniquely in his own image. We all have different gifts meant to build up the body of Christ. I love how Wonder shows the beauty of our differences and what we each bring to this world. In the movie, we see people trying to change themselves to fit in, only to feel even more uncomfortable. We see people hiding their gifts because they don’t want to draw attention to themselves, but then finding such freedom and beauty when they step out into these talents. We see people excluded or made fun of for their differences, only to later be seen as the beautiful creation God made them to be.
Strong people don’t put others down. They lift them up. – Michael P. Watson
The portrayal of bullying in Wonder is a powerful and accurate one. Bullies often act in such a manner to look stronger than they actually are, but true strength is shown throughout the movie by characters who step in to be an encouragement and a friend. Summer is a wonderful example of this, but you can also see a transformation from one side to other in the life of Jack Will. While he starts out as a friend to Auggie, Jack falls into the trap of putting Auggie down to fit in with the popular kids. What he thought would make him feel strong and cool left him feeling very weak and lonely. His strength really shines through when he sees the error in his ways and stands up for Auggie. As Christians, we know our strength comes from God and that strength shows through in our love for people.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. – Ian Maclaren
Here is where we learn about the gift of perspective. In both the book and movie, Wonder shows us one side of the story, then we form opinions and feel emotions based on that perspective. Then all of a sudden, we’re seeing it from someone else’s point of view and everything is turned on its head. There is never just one side of the story. The bully is acting out because he feels insecure about himself. The girl who all of a sudden started ignoring her friends is trying to hide her parents’ divorce. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle. It doesn’t give us permission to behave badly, but it can explain bad behavior. God calls us to kindness and love. He calls us to community. When we are following His calling, we see the lives of others in a different light. I was brought to tears many times throughout Wonder as the battles of each person were revealed. We are all broken in some way. We all need kindness.
As we finished watching Wonder, this prayer came to my heart:
God, forgive us for the times we’ve chosen judgment over appreciation, fear over love, pride over kindness. We are weak, but give us Your strength so we can live in a way that honors You, loving the people You’ve placed in our lives. Help us to see others as You see them and celebrate Your beautiful creation in each one of them. Open our eyes to the wonder all around us, all for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Are you ready for a little change in perspective? Grab the Wonder DVD and watch it together for your next family movie night!
Have you read the book or seen the movie, Wonder? What were your biggest takeaways?