My book, The Rare, Tiny Flower, debuts on April 26, and my friends and collaborators at Tra Publishing and I are excited to share its beauty and timeless relevance with the world.
I wonder if, like me, you’ve witnessed many acts of kindness, generosity, and bravery over the past two years. Perhaps there were times your own community or your family came together to help a person, or another family suffering cruel losses or hardships during the pandemic.
But we’ve also seen examples of global and community divisiveness, of rudeness and anger resulting more from fear than a willingness to come together to maturely solve the many problems facing us.
When fear is a natural response to our experience, what should we do next? How do we respond to mystery and what actions can we rely upon in service to our greater good?
At times, the childlike responses of wonder, friendliness, openness, and delight have been replaced by childish behaviors of selfishness, of needing to be right, however illogical or dangerous the cost. These choices diminish humanity’s power to do good, possibly even to survive.
And our children, of course, are watching. They’re absorbing the language and feelings and interactions around them. Through our choices, we create lessons for them every day, and model them over and over. I became concerned about what the children have been learning regarding how we respond to crises, how we behave during times that are chaotic, how we care for each other when we’re all suffering, and how we manage our fear and disagreements.
I thought about the lyrics to the song, You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught, by Oscar Hammerstein III, for his and Richard Rogers’ musical, South Pacific. What have we been carefully teaching our children during the pandemic, and have we emphasized the lessons we want them to learn?
The Rare, Tiny Flower is my response to these ideas. It’s written in verse, and is profoundly enriched by the amazing illustrations created by Quim Torres.
The story emphasizes peaceful conflict resolution and the dangers of anger and rushing to judgment, exploring instead the ways kindness, listening, reflection, and respect for the Earth–and for our differences and gifts–can bring us together in ways that creatively meet the challenges that face us.
The Rare, Tiny Flower invites us to celebrate our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of being here at all, but especially, of being here together.
Over the next several posts, I’ll be sharing the poem and illustrations with you, and thoughts about how the book and its glorious illustrations can be shared by parents, grandparents, and teachers with the children they love.
Once, in a forest,
a bird dropped a seed.
It wasn’t a sapling,
it wasn’t a weed,
but a rare, tiny flower
that found light and grew.
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