We are rereading “The Little Prince” by Antoine De Saint-Exupery during bedtime stories. (Even though my kids are old enough to read to themselves, we still enjoy the nighttime ritual of having me read to them.) As my children grow older, they are able to appreciate the book in new and different ways. In their younger years they loved the whimsical pop-ups and illustrations. Now that Charlotte is 10, she enjoys the wisdom the book brings to light. Whether you have children or not, “The Little Prince” is a must-read. As an example, this passage from page 15 poignantly describes adults’ over-focus on data:
Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: “What does his voice sound like?” “What games does he like best?” “Does he collect butterflies?” They ask: “How old is he?” “How many brothers does he have?” “How much does he weigh?” “How much money does his father make?” Only then do they think they know him. If you tell grown-ups, “I saw a beautiful red brick house, with geraniums at the windows and doves on the roof…,” they won’t be able to imagine such a house. You have to tell them, “I saw a house worth a hundred thousand francs.” Then they exclaim, “What a pretty house!”
(As I read this to Charlotte, she exclaimed, “This man is a GENIUS!”)
Children are born wise. As we get older we gain knowledge but somehow lose our wisdom.