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Friday, June 17, 2011

Stories for Children?

Oh boy. These children’s stories can sometimes pack the most incredible punch. I’m sharing Oscar Wilde's "The Happy Prince" with Seven, and I still dissolve into buckets of tears.
Still, because I remember regularly listening to this too-beautiful story when I was a child. Warmly snuggled in bed on a Sunday morning, I would lie close to a little portable radio and hang on every detail. As I grew to know it more, I lent myself to the tragedy of it more and more, until I was regularly not just teary, but actually sobbing away as I listened to it.

Here’s an abbreviated read- aloud for you. Before you sit down, grab yourself a hanky. Imagine it’s me reading to you. What a treat! Have a little moment of receiving some of the love and care we sow into our children when we read aloud to them. Have you remembered your hanky?! Here it is:

Now let’s have a little talk about it. Were you totally heart-broken? Did you fall in love with the Prince’s heart, and then also with the shallow swallow who was transformed by the kindness he sowed into others? And did you despise the callous, superficial, self-centred official who couldn’t see the wonder of love before him?

Being transformed by love. I think we know of the power love sown into us can have. But sowing love is also wonderfully transforming. As we give, we grow our own hearts and our own capacity for emotional depth. What a wonder our hearts are. As we give, we can never empty the well we draw from. And not only is it replenished, but it grows larger through the act of giving.

Reassure me that you will read the full text of Oscar Wilde’s heart-melting story of the power of love and kindness:

And do let me know how you felt about it.

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