My oldest, Enzo, is now six, which means I've read a ton of children's books at bedtime. Lately I've grown fond of Jon Klassen's illustrations in "This is Not My Hat," "I Want My Hat Back," "The Dark," and "Jack and Dave Dig a Hole." But it was his last illustrated book (authored by Mac Barnett), that secured me as a forever fan. Reading "The Wolf The Duck & The Mouse" I found the best one-liner I've ever read to my kids. Ever.
Here goes: A duck has been swallowed by a wolf. Later, when a mouse is swallowed by the same wolf the mouse hears other activity in the belly of the wolf. The mouse is completely perplexed by this when a duck suddenly engages him in conversation and subsequently invites him to share a meal. When the duck senses the mouse being completely dumbstruck by the scenario, he states matter of factly:
I live well! I may have been swallowed, but I have no intention of being eaten.
A big smile grew from my face the first time I read the line aloud. Enzo noticed my mood change and asked, "what's so funny mom?" I took a breath and a minute to think about how I was going to explain the concept of perspective that Klassen introduced but was lost on my son. While my subsequent response about being totally in control of how we choose to view our life may or may not have helped clarify the point, I was grateful for the opportunity to discuss perspective. With such an abstract concept, I tried to associate it with my morning greeting, "it's going to be a great day I can feel it." Again, he many not have understood it, but we certainly laugh together every time we read the duck's now infamous line. I figure the more we read it, better the chance it sinks in.
Many people don't grasp this concept of perspective until a major tragedy or trauma and long periods of reflection. Meditation gives us an opportunity to detach and sit with what is; sometimes a session or a series of sessions results in a paradigm shift or perspective adjustment. Planting the seeds early that we determine the lens through which we see the world is both a gift and a responsibility. I applaud Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen for raising the concept and empowering the next generation of formidable minds in such a clever way.