As long a there has been life, there has been stories. You could say that our very existence is the greatest story ever written, one which will span to the end of time itself. It is a story with as many antagonists as there are protagonists, and with over seven billion chapters, each one cataloguing the events of every individual life that’s lived.
We all strive to shine as brightly as we can, in the hopes that our chapter will be a memorable one capable of enduring the test of time. There are many pages to fill, however, and in the meantime there are many stories of our own creation for us to enjoy, ones which may have a greater influence on our greatest story than we realize.
I’ve been thinking a lot about stories lately. I mean, I think about stories basically every moment of my waking days, but there’s been an increasingly prominent theme among them that makes me yearn for the days when my greatest frustration was having to share my toys with my siblings.
Youth is by far the most fleeting part of our chapter, and yet for most it is the most memorable and cherished for the very reason that I would love to go back in time and fight over the last Lego piece I need to finish my castle; because our worries, our fears and our anxieties were so much smaller back then.
It’s also the time when our discovery of the world begins, and thinking back on it, a great deal of what I learned about life and how to live it came from the books I read – or had read to me during my pre-reading days – and I’m sure many of you feel the same. I’m not talking about the technical stuff, like how to learning how to ride a bike or how to use the toilet, even though there are plenty of books that can help us overcome those obstacles, I’m sure. No, I’m talking more about lessons of morality, values, and normative behaviours that are accepted by our culture.
One of my all time favourite books when I was really little was called “Elmo Wants A Bath“. The entire thing was waterproof, so I could take it into the bathtub with me and not have to worry about ruining it. It was one of those books that was designed to help find joy in taking baths, instead of seeing them as a chore, and it certainly worked on me. I couldn’t wait to dump in the bubble bath and sculpt the resulting foam into bubbly mountains. It was such a simple book, and yet it impacted my life so greatly, and as such it holds a very important place in my heart. It helped me to realize that joy can be found in anything, you just have to know where to look.
Another book I remember quite fondly was called “Dear Tooth Fairy“, which told the story of a young sprite who works hard to earn her wings and become a Tooth Fairy. I’ve always had a fondness for fantasy and magic, and it’s quite possible that this book was the catalyst for it. It was a truly a book of hope, using a combination of beautiful illustrations and a simple yet compelling story to teach us that nothing is impossible, and our only limitation is the size of our dreams. It also taught me a lot about oral hygiene, but my young mind found those bits to be of less significance :)
If you grew up in the 90’s, then you probably remember the “Little Critter” stories. They were certainly a classic, and what was so great about them was that the stories were very relatable for kids. There’s one in particular that comes to mind, and it was called ‘I Was So Mad’.
We’ve all had times where it seemed like the only word our parents knew how to say was ‘no’. It could be frustrating, especially when you didn’t know why they wouldn’t let you buy the candy bar from the store, or stay up past your bedtime, or watch a scary movie. The protagonist of this story gets so mad that his parents won’t let him do anything he wants to do, and decides to run away from home, but he barely leaves the house when his friends come by and ask if he wants to play baseball with them. When his mom finally says yes, he realizes that he’s not angry anymore, and he joins his friends at the park and has a really good time.
These are just a few of the books that I feel helped to shape me into the person I am today, by encouraging me to dream, have fun, and to not sweat the small stuff. This is why it’s so important to encourage children to read when they’re young as part of their fundamental development, because try as they might, our parents don’t always have the time to bestow upon us their wisdom in all aspects of life. Books help to fill in the gaps, and sometimes they teach us things about ourselves that we wouldn’t have known otherwise.
What are some of your favourite books from your childhood? I would love to hear about them! Leave the titles in the comments below or on my blogs Facebook page, and until next time, happy reading!