Some of the dearest memories, I have from school, are the shelves of books that lined the wall of the classroom under the windows. There were collections of biographies and a large collection of the Classics. You know the ones… Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth…the list could go on! Now days the typical classroom does not have this large reading treasure trove instead they have Diary of a Wimpy Kid and every book written about a mouse and his motorcycle. What About the Classics?
This has been a burning question recently. My youngest continues to ask me if I have read certain books. I love to read and he knows this…but the titles are books that have been written in the past 10-12 years and well…I don’t read baby books! I have tried to explain to him the fact that these books were not written when I was little. When I was his age I was reading The Classics! I start telling him about the wonderful and exciting adventures I had while reading them and the dreams that came from these great books. I told him…Journey to the Center of the Earth is one of my favorites and the dreams I had…”Oh, I saw that movie! You got to watch DVDs in school?”.
After he got over the shock that we did not have DVDs when I was in school I told him these books were written before there was television. Then he tore into a discussion about no television.
My question is: If these children are not encouraged to read these great masterpieces then how will they find their adventurous spirit? How will they find the passion to question the extraordinary and use their imaginations? What About the Classics?
The relationships formed and alliances made between characters as they were forced to make life and death decisions gave us hope. Hope that if they could find a way in a tough situation we could find a way. The times I escaped to Oz with all it colorful creatures and fantastic scenery…the unique plant life in the middle Earth that stood high above the characters…wonderful memories that filled my childhood.
How big can your imagination grow in a book with 50 pages…where the only dilemma is limited to one day at school! Our children have lost the desire to explore and fight giant octopi or build a raft and sail the Mississippi, or find the buried treasure while fighting pirates? Do they realize the joys they have missed not learning to fly with Peter Pan?
Before I could read these fantastic works of art my mother introduced a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson to me when I had the chicken pox. It was called “The Land of Counterpane“
When I was sick and lay a-bed
I had two pillows at my head
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.
And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;
And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.
I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of Counterpane.
What child could not dream with a poem like this as a foundation. I read it to my older boys and the battles the army men would have with the Teenage Mutant Turtles was truly Epic! The reading assignments given to our children today are not using these treasures. Very few of the assignments call for biographical reading. How do we learn about the great men and women who shaped our world? There is no way to understand where we came from if they don’t read about these great people and their lives.
I will just keep trying to introduce my youngest to this world from home…I can’t wait for him to have an adventure while reading one of these Classics!
As for me…I will step off my Soap Box…sip on my coffee and fall back into Victorian England. Time for some Jane Austen! What? Don’t you like to dream? Have a great day…and enjoy that lovely cup of coffee!
We face many obstacles everyday as we journey along through this life. Brick walls block our way forcing us to alter our direction and plans. We see no light at the end of our endless tunnel that seems to grow darker with each step. “Just Find Your Happy Thought Peter!”
Finding a happy thought can be difficult but not impossible. The smallest glimmer of hope can shed light on a virtual wasteland of defeat. We force ourselves to get up in the morning and trudge off to jobs or busy schedules with family and friends. There are many happy thoughts in that statement…we can get up and are breathing..we have a job…we have family and friends… Many people feel they don’t even have these luxuries in their life. They may not be able to get out of bed or may have experienced the death of a loved one. There is an emptiness than envelopes us during this time. It is temporary but does not feel like it at the time. “Just Find Your Happy Thought Peter!”
Tinkerbell tries to help Peter remember his happy thought so Peter can fly. Faith, trust, and Pixie Dust…that is all it takes! Unfortunately we don’t have a Pixie Dust distributor or fairies flying around sprinkling the transporting glitter over the heads of those in need. We all have needs in our lives and have to find ways to get past them and move one to the next challenge.
Faith is one way…faith in your beliefs and in those around you. Faith grows with each giant we face…even though we may not realize it at the time. We may not slay the giant but we will get past the giant. Situations bombard daily life in the decisions we make, people around us, finances, and health. We may not be able to see the road block until it is too late. What builds our faith is our reaction. The approach we take in resolving the situation could lead us down
various paths and we must follow through…step by step. The path may be steep and hard to maneuver. Trials and tragedies may come our way in many different varieties. We may find no solution is available to solve the problem and the only way around this road block is filled with treacherous, spirit defeating, landslide prone ground. We must have the faith to continue and trust in our progress. Faith goes hand in hand with Trust!
Bad things happen to good people…we trust that something good will come out of the situation. If our finances are dealing us fits and thrusting us into a life of uncertainty we can trust that we can find something good. (Happy Thought) Things are tight and we cannot do the things we used to do…but we can spend time together as a family or enjoy quality time with those dear to us. Making the most of what we have, at any given time, is the best use of time. The death of a loved one or friend affects many in different ways. Withdrawing from those closest to you will only lead you into a dark place. We must cling to those around us and hold each other close. Healing will take time! We must find our happy thought in the memories left behind. Those we lose want us to continue and not dwell on their passing. A smile or scent may bring us that happy thought needed to get through the days ahead. These complications are difficult and overwhelming…but as we move forward and glimpse the problems we faced behind us we can see they were just growing pains. “Those pains during childhood growth spurts, doctors call non-existent, that let us know we are changing.” We get through them and stand taller because of them. (OOO! Another Happy Thought!) We will get through these situations and do not need Pixie Dust! In our set backs and struggles we must hold on to our Faith and Trust, setting our eyes forward and take the next step. There are happy thoughts all around us…“Just Find Your Happy Thought Peter!”</em