Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Children's Tale Revisited

For the past two weeks Meech Muffin has taken a break from reading his usual selection of business and real estate books to revisit some of his favorite children’s tales. As he has been reflecting on his childhood and how his experiences of then have shaped him into the man he is now he has been weeding through the lessons of these books and taking an interesting look at what he thinks about these tales as they relate to him today and also thinking about what they meant to him when he first read them. I applaud him for what he is doing. I imagine that if I did the same thing I would learn a thing or two and be reminded of the many lessons I had to be taught again in adolescents and adulthood that I should have gotten long ago.

Not until tonight did it really sink in how so many valuable life lessons are found in the stories we tell our children. I suppose that is why we create them and read them to youngsters all the time. Our intent is to teach them and ourselves while we are young the most basic and even sometimes more complicated lessons about life. I have always said that I like really young children because they will say anything that they think and do what comes natural to them. This is the same reason I like really old people. The young people don’t know any better and the old people, they do know better. They know the so many of the things we think are important don’t really matter. But I digress.

Tonight I went to dinner with a new friend and after hours of great conversation and good company we parted ways. He was on his way home and I was on my way to the bookstore to pick up the latest copy of the magazine for African American women. My friend Aziza has been working there for a few months and I was told that this month I had to check out the issue. Well, I got to the bookstore, purchased the magazine and went about my way flipping pages as I exited the store and began making my way around the circle.

My mouth dropped. There was my friend Aziza in three pictures being highlighted for her fierce cut in the magazine for African American women. When Aziza first moved to the City she faced many tough times and it took everything she had in her to really get on her feet. But when she did, she did. Of course, her pictures and the write up about her hair in the magazine does not have a whole lot to do with her actual position there. This was a small fruit of her labor. This was icing on the cake. It was her making her mark. That is a lesson I got from a children’s book just nine months ago and needed to be reminded of – always make your mark.

In fall 2004 I had an experience that several years ago could have brought me to a mental breakdown but luckily God has over time instilled in me strength to get through even the roughest patches. During this time I spent in the valley of many things I had the opportunity to read several books to a class of first and second graders at a local elementary school. One of the books I read was written by Debbie Allen. This particular story centered around a young girl who wanted to be a dancer and for a number of reasons she felt that maybe she wouldn’t be able to and that she didn’t have what it took to be a dancer. In the story someone steps in and offers her some advice about standing out, being who she is and doing her very best and to no matter what make her mark. By the end of the story she rises to the occasion and makes her mark. Just like Aziza. Just like my momma. Just like my mentor. Just like so many other folks. Just like I pray that I am doing.

After tonight I think I have some more books to add to my summer reading list. I could learn a lot from reading more children’s books.