Reading for a Compassionate Society
In keeping with that last thought, The Lost Mermaid teaches children about the danger of judging others by language or appearance, which has had huge ramifications in recent months with the increasing number of tragic suicides among adolescent students. Words like multi-culture and diversity have been all over educational literature and bantered around classrooms and teacher's conferences for almost two decades, but incidences of intolerance and mockery amongst young people seem to have escalated. One has to ask WHY.
The issue begins at a very early stage. The blueprint for the child is being drawn from the time of their birth. Everything they hear, everything they see imprints into their cellular memory and becomes part of their persona. We can't wait until our children are reading and in school to begin to teach diversity, compassion, and tolerance. These lessons begin at the beginning--at home.
Certainly the bedtime stories we read to them are important, reinforcing lessons and values that we teach during the day, but that's just a small part of it. Children imitate everything we say and everything we do--even our sense of humor.
For those of you who have raised children, do you recall how they mimicked you--right down to vocal inflections? They are like "little parrots," so it's important as parents and/or mentors, that we are providing them with a script that we want to hear later in their life because we most surely will.
The following quote is one of my personal favorites:
"There's nothing so strong as gentleness and nothing so gentle as real strength."
This small quote speaks volumes as an integral piece of a script for a compassionate society. In The Lost Mermaid, Lily demonstrates this "gentle strength" when she meets the scary shark. Imagine a world where all children's lives were filled with daily examples of love, forgiveness, and gentle strength.