July 27, 2009

Invaluable Lessons Found in Literature will Impact a Child for a Lifetime

I just read an extremely moving article in Oprah Magazine entitled: The Hard-Times Companion. In it, a mother gives her heartwarming account of the bond she developed and the lessons she learned alongside her 8 year old daughter by reading Little House on the Prairie together. Through the simple yet immensely powerful gesture of reading and losing themselves in literature, this mother/daughter duo became more compassionate, appreciative, humble and
charitable in their own daily lives. Experiencing the trials and triumphs of the Ingalls family gave them the perspective they needed to survive their own bout with the present day economic downturn.

One of my writing instructors in college always used to say, "show, don't tell." This is vital advice not only with regard to the craft of writing, but to parenting as well. The powerful sentiment and subtle lessons learned by sitting with your child, reading to them and sharing an adventure with them is a memory they will hold dear for life. There's a vast difference between telling a child to be grateful, and allowing them to learn for themselves the art of gratitude by walking in someone else's shoes in literature.

Ultimately, the author of the article, Marie Howe taught her daughter how to live a more simple yet more meaningful and fulfilled existence by appreciating what she does have. I think that is the crux of a green lifestyle -- and I hope that globally, materialism is replaced with valuing what's important: human connections and shared experiences.

I have added the Little House on the Prarie series of books to my Amazon wish list, and I am now eagerly awaiting the day Olivia and I crack open these books together to take our own journey with the Ingalls.

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