When a grown-up reads The Little Prince

11749875_10153346225557906_1700189197_oMy ex-room mate once told me: As you grow old, reading The Little Prince becomes more profound. So I pick up my 10-year old copy of The Little Prince and read all over again. When you gain more life experiences, you can find yourself in one of The Little Prince’s characters and in the book’s philosophies. I appreciate the book now, in my mid twenties. I guess when you’re a little older, you strangely get insights from the innocence of a child which The Little Prince symbolizes. Here are some of the things that The Little Prince remind me of:

We love numbers but numbers are just numbers

Our world is governed by numbers. For instance, we measure the country’s progress by GNP or GDP but it does not reflect the quality of life of most people. Money, school grades, salary, check, number of likes in Facebook are just numbers. Numbers cannot tell how happy you are.

We have to dig deeper to know its value

One of the most popular quote: “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” “ And another quote from the books says: “What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well” It’s easy to measure someone’s worth based on face value.  Often we pattern our lives with what society expects, what advertising sells.  Always choose substance over form. What holds value to you does not necessarily hold value to to most people.

Facts are just “good-to-know”. Life is not about facts but a collection of experiences.

I always thought that by reading more books, by studying, by listening to experts and scholars is enough to make me more knowledgeable. But experience is always irreplaceable. Thanks to technology, knowledge is accessible. It’s good to know the world through web pages but it’s just a small portion of our reality.

The obsession of power, status and accumulation are all meaningless. 

I have a similar blog post related to this. The Little Prince  cannot understand the obsession of  the king to rule, the fascination of the businessman to buy more stars. We do resemble some of the characters  he met in different planets. We may be the geographer who does not travel the places he records, and the lamplighter who is too useful but has no time to rest.

We choose the people we want to be part of our lives

We keep looking for the best set of people to be our friends. They are not unique people just like the rose of The Little Prince. He has a sad realization that his rose in his planet is just like the other roses on earth.  But when we “establish ties”, the way The Little Prince tamed the fox, we make them special. This reminds me of random question I shared with my friend: Do you think you marry the best guy in your life or the right person?

“There is no shop where you can buy friendship”

Period.   the littlpr Relationships are important

Relationships add zeal and meaning in our lives as explained by the fox to The Little Prince.

“My life is very monotonous,” the fox said. “I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…”

Photo Source: http://www.lepetitprince.com/
Photo Source: http://www.lepetitprince.com/

We love the difficult people

The rose of The Little Prince has an attitude problem. She always complains and she is pretty demanding. Not to mention, she is fragile and vulnerable but The Little Prince has been devoted to her.

People have different values and priorities

We choose what gives meaning to our lives. Yes, we can choose what drives us everyday to work, what makes our lives worth living for, what inspires us, what motives us, what makes us happy

“All men have stars,” [the prince said.] “but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You—you alone—will have the stars as no one else has them—” “What are you trying to say?” “In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night… You—only you—will have stars that can laugh!” (26.18-20)

Looking forward to watch The Little Prince movie

Looking for Philippine Folk Tales?

I’m part of a  new small storytelling group in Manila.  For my piece, I want something unique, something not so familiar among kids. We probably know a lot of western children stories and a lot of Grimm’s fairy tales.  For this reason, I prefer to use a Filipino story. The problem with Filipino children stories or must I say Philippine literature in general. They are not available on the internet.  You’ll probably find a few but very limited. You have to go to libraries and book stores to find one. Luckily, I  found this book in National Book Store. It is a collection of Philippine folk tales about fruits.  It has eight stories. Some of which are  popular ones such as Why the Pina Has a Hundred Eyes, How the Lasones Became Edible, Why the Mango is Shaped Like a Hear, The Story of First Coconut Tree. 

It  astounds me that I only get to know some of these tales as an adult such as  The Story of the First Durian,  Why the Guava Wears a Crown, The Story of the First Banana Plant,  The Legend of the First Makopa Tree.  With this kind of books, there is no excuse to repeat the same stories to children. We have a lot of stories.  We just lack exposure. We, who are stoytellers, teachers, and adults can promote the richness of  Philippine children literature.  And stories feel  closer to us  if the subjects are very familiar to us such  the fruits we regularly eat such as banana, pineapple, and coconut.

This  book suits all ages but smaller kids may not pay much attention. The illustrations are colorless and the characters do no look  cute-like creatures in Cartoon Network.  It is written in a simple language. It is easy to understand, easy to memorize but it is not playful. Hence, if you are reading this  out loud in front of kids, you should be more creative in your delivery.

Philippine Children Books

If you are running out of children stories, go back to folk tales 🙂

Girls are like Magazines and Novels

Photo Source: http://www.glamour.com/

There is no debate which is better, a novel or a magazine. Both have different target readers. The two are read for different purposes in different times. A novel is read during a quiet time in bedroom. A magazine is read during heavy traffic or while waiting one’s turn in the doctor’s clinic. A magazine is meant to entertain and to update readers. A novel is also meant to entertain but not to update readers. Magazines are for people on the rush while novels are for people who take time.

This leads me to compare girls with novels and magazines. A man who chooses a girl he will date is like a man who chooses what to buy in a bookstore. The one he chooses depends on what his needs and interests are. The man who likes to buy a novel is like a man who wants to spend a long time with his girl. The man who picks a magazine wants something that is easy and requires little time for reading like a girl who does not demand much time. If he has short attention span, he will prefer to buy a magazine. If he is a conscientious reader and pays attentions to small details, he will buy a novel.

Girls are like novels and magazines. Some are easy on the eyes and easy to love while some cannot catch a man’s attention in a swift glance. He will learn to like her with additional details. And if a novel takes a lot of time, hence he will never forget. But a magazine with its thin pages, he can neglect.

Between the two, a novel is expensive while a magazine depreciates in value over time. When a man reads a novel all over again, he will always discover something new. But when a man reads a magazine again, there is obviously nothing new. There are a lot of things that can be said about a novel and he can make a book review. But a magazine, what else can he say? Maybe he can give a brief description but not as rich as he would describe how an author writes a novel.

Magazines are available everywhere. He can find them in bus stop, airport, parlor, and grocery store. But a novel is not accessible all the time. Like novels, some girls are hard to reach while magazines are always within his reach. But if a man wants to brag his taste and intellect, he will display novels in his living room.

A novel is personal and intimate. A man who enjoys reading a novel, is eager to touch a new page. He smells it, sleeps with it, protects it. When a man is done reading a magazine, he leaves the magazine to others and say, “You can have it.”

A novel is something he can pass to the next generation but a magazine serves its own generation for when the trends are gone, it is lost. Some girls are like novels worth keeping for a lifetime while some are fleeting, lovely in their own time.