When you see a book, what do you think?
What does your body do?
Take a moment to feel that.
Of course it might depend on the book. If it's a picture book, it might bring back fond memories of a parent or loved one who used to read it to you. Maybe images of the school librarian reading aloud to your class arise.
I fondly recall our elementary school class sitting next the fireplace, gathered around the feet of Ms. Burke, our school librarian, as she read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, The Giving Tree or Pippi Longstocking—maybe your teacher read it aloud.
Maybe it was a book that made you feel sad. I remember in fourth grade, having Bridge to Terabithia read to my class by our teacher. I did not feel emotionally quite ready for that book. I felt really, really grieved and I haven't reread that book since. I own it and encouraged my children to read it if they’d like, but that was a hard one for me so I have not read it with them.
Refocusing here….what kinds of memories does the book coming to YOUR mind bring back?
How do you notice your body responding?
Maybe it was the required summer reading.
Perhaps, everything you read was assigned by school and you were never really read to outside of that. If that’s the case, when you think of reading, your body likely contracts and your mind starts to feel frazzled.
You associate this book or books in general with homework, writing papers and taking tests on the books.
And this is not an experience you necessarily want to recreate with your child.
As you know, there are so many benefits to reading to your children. It can help them gain confidence to read on their own when they are ready….notice I said THEY.
It helps them create a relationship with books where they personally see them as friends and helpful tools.
What I really want to drive home is the fact that a book as an experience can teach. A book can help you grow in that fashion, giving you knowledge and information, but can also open your mind.
It can open up portals between you and loved ones with whom you are sharing the book.
It can also be an incredible tool – a direct line, connecting you to anyone that you're really meant to connect with in this lifetime.
I'm talking about people from every country in the world.
There is a good chance that the person you meet is also familiar with a classic children's book and you have that in common. Maybe it's Good Night Moon that somebody in a different country was also read in their native tongue as a child.
You have those shared themes and experience as part of your foundation. That early formation of how you view the world, how you relate to the moon and bedtime routines—all of those things. Think about it for a moment.
Of course, this exact subject doesn't come up a lot in adult conversation, but the fact that you were both read that story, automatically creates a common ground, even if only at a subconscious level.
Another example is The Little Engine That Could. You've probably read that a million times. If not, go check it out.
One message of this story is offering the potential, the possibility to all of us that if we think we can, we can and oftentimes what's getting in the way is our thinking that we can't—we can't do something that we want to do. We believe we can't do something that we've come to this earth to do. So many of us get stuck telling ourselves over and over again that we can't do something we know in our very bones we need to do, we’re here to do because we don't think we can.
Pause…shift mindset…reset: All the little ones that had The Little Engine That Could read to them have at least had that little seed planted in them that sometimes it's only a matter of reminding yourself that you can…
… “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...” as you flow through, towards, around something that feels hard or scary that the world or society has told you, “You can't do that.”
Maybe your own inner-critic said, “You can't do that. What are you thinking?”
Impostor syndrome, perfectionism… all those things surface to tell you—"you cannot.”
But you have that little bitty seed planted in you of that little blue engine pulling all those dolls and toys for all the children up that hill— “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...”
And guess what he could do?
And guess what he did?
He pulled them all up that hill. I haven't read the book in years, but I'm tearing up thinking about his face when he came up over the hill—how he was beaming!
Take a moment to liken that to you: maybe you are Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, Aunt, Uncle, Grandma, Grandpa, or a good friend.
You step onto your unique track, that path that is aligned with your soul and heart's desires. Day after day you faithfully do the practices and things that sometimes feel boring or hard.
These are the things that in your heart you know will work, but in your everyday life, and in listening to your inner critic, you wonder, “Is this really working? I don't have time for this” and yet you choose to engage in the practices anyway, to give yourself that little bit of time to step foot or stay on your soul-aligned track.
You are like that little engine.
You are embodying the little engine that pulled himself, friends and its own load up that hill.
And remember that at the top of that hill, they knew it was all easy-peasy from there.
Of course, it's not always easy going or a downhill coast after you do the one thing in reality.
However, once you know you are on the track, aligned with your authentic self, there is automatically more of that down-hill flow and less of the up hill resistance.
That little engine was beaming with delight. He had done what originally seemed impossible—the very thing he knew he was here to do.
He told himself he “could” and down that hill they rolled, easy breezy, bringing with him all the candy, toys, stuffed animals, dolls and milk bottles with faces for all those children who were waiting down in the valley.
He did what he had come to do.
When you meet someone out in the world that has that “I think I can” attitude, you'll naturally connect with them.
A specific book title might not come up in conversation.
Who know if folks would even be aware of this reality, but often these foundational seeds & ideas planted in early childhood grow into possibilities and shared worldviews that otherwise might not have been there.
“I think I can”… Wishing the moon “good night” before you climb into bed, noticing a “bear” or homeless friend who has lost their way…whether it be in Paddington Station or elsewhere…
All of these teach empathy. We are teaching our children to notice the ones who everybody else is passing by, who others have left, deserted at the train station or on the side of the road…whether it's a puppy, cat or a human being.
As our children get older, they’ll be able to continue this journey of reading, opening their minds and filling themselves with all the possibilities for their highest good and the world’s alike.
As adults, they will be better able to connect with others along their path, sharing these ways of thinking and being because you have read some of the same books.
This applies to big circles of people from all over the world!
It happens to me all the time that I connect with someone, who maybe hasn’t read the exact same book, but we’re talking about the same thing. It naturally goes into sharing a relevant book recommendation, “Oh, that reminds me of this book…” it allows for incredible connection with others like and not so like us.
You reading to your little ones now is planting that seed.
This is the seed that can blossom, if they allow it to, into many friendships and connections with people all over the world.
You are opening that up for them.
Oh, a book can hold for us SO MUCH more than it appears. A quick update:
This week has been an exciting one as
Weave Sunshine Publishing announced its book debut of The Lonely Toadstool!
It is being released as we speak.
The Lonely Toadstool will be available in 4 versions PLUS at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and over 350,000 more online and physical bookstores. More details on that soon.
I'll be focusing my attention on getting the uplifting messages of this little toadstool and his friends into the hands and hearts of parents and their little ones.
This will open important portals to conversations about emotions, using your voice, authenticity, empathy, solidarity, inclusion and more. These are seeds our world desperately need today.
If this speaks to you and you want to help get these messages out to the next generation, the book launch team is forming as we speak (9/8/22.)
You can join now by going to weavesunshinpublishing.com
and find the details in the show notes.
We’d love to have you along for the adventure!