When you are young, the lessons you learn are important for shaping you as you grow and mature into adulthood. We can be taught lessons through experiences, through rules, through social interactions, and my personal favourite, through stories (written or spoken). Not all of the lessons we learn as children stem from positive experiences, but many do. When we reflect on those lessons as adults, good or bad, we often realize just how important they were and how they have helped us in our adult lives.
I am very thankful for the lessons I learned as a child, particularly the ones I learned through literature. My family, especially my parents, always encouraged reading. They read to my sister and I every night until we were able to start reading our own books (but they still read to us from time to time). Some of my favourite memories have come from my parents reading stories to me. They took the time to change voices for different characters, make the sound effects, and at the end of each story, they would talk to us about what the stories were trying to tell us. We would always talk about what we thought the book meant and how we can apply the lesson to real-life situations (of course they explained this in much simpler terms then, ha!). I am grateful that my parents were so adamant about that.
One of my favourite authors as a child was Dr. Seuss. My dad always chose Dr. Seuss stories to read because they were so entertaining and a bit strange, but they had meaningful lessons at their core. A favourite Dr. Seuss story of mine and my dad’s was Horton Hears a Who!
The story itself is sad at times, but entertaining and funny at points as well. It has a wonderful message which I’m sure we’re all familiar with; all people are equal and everyone has a voice in society. We shouldn’t judge others or squander their rights and freedoms for their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
In the story, Horton’s peers criticize him and call him crazy for acknowledging the ‘Whos’ that live on the dust speck. The other members of his community don’t believe that the ‘Whos’ exist or that they should have a place because they were too small to see. The ‘Whos’ begin to give up hope of being noticed by everyone besides Horton in order to protect their lives, but Horton encourages them to keep trying and using their voices to prove their existence. He emphasizes again and again that “a person’s a person, no matter how small”.
When my parents discussed this story with me as a child, they told me that like Horton had done, it is important for everyone to treat others with respect at all times, no matter what. They told me that there are many people who are different from myself, but that doesn’t mean that we should treat them any differently. Both of my parents are passionate about this, but my dad especially is. He is one of the least judgemental people I know. He treats everyone with respect and kindness, which I am grateful to have learned from him growing up. He enjoyed this story the most for that reason.
Learning the lesson of treating others equally from Horton Hears a Who! was valuable for me in many ways. I try my best to not be judgemental, to treat everyone with kindness, and to stick up for people who are treated differently. Learning lessons like this as a child has helped shape my world views as an adult. I took an interest in Human Rights in university and wanted to expand my knowledge on how to advocate for people who have their rights denied to them because of their differences from others in society. This is such an important lesson for everyone to learn and grasp in order to make change. The message is uplifting and hopeful, and I am thankful to have learned it through literature and by example of my parents.
I hope you all enjoyed today’s post! I am really enjoying this challenge so far and getting back into regular blogging feels great.
I also wanted to mention that the lovely Kate from Completely Kate has decided to do this challenge too, so please go check her blog out!
Have a lovely day,