Life Lessons

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What’s the best life lesson you learned from a book when you were a kid?

(I specify as a kid because a lot of lessons you learn as a child stick through your lifetime, but things you learn as an adult don’t necessarily get internalized as well. The follow-up, of course, is to ask you whether you would change your answer to something you’ve read as a grown-up.)

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

And also–don’t forget, folks–sometimes WordPress’s spam filter seems to decide that a lot of perfectly valid answers are spam. I periodically check throughout the day for lost comments. But, PLEASE–if your comment doesn’t show, don’t post it four more times in the hopes that one of them will go through. I get very, very tired trying to sort out the duplicates (grin).

Just to kick things off, I’ve got two:

One, on the importance of planning courtesy of Claudia in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler.. Not only did she execute a brilliant scheme of running away and hiding in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she says this to her brother when they’ve got a short time to browse the the famous mixed-up files:

“Five minutes of planning are worth fifteen minutes of just looking. “

(This one is complimented by the Commodore in Nancy Bond’s very under-rated but wonderful “The Best of Enemies,” who protests at the youngsters’ impatience, insisting that they’re in such a hurry, they don’t realize that NOW is when they have the time to think, to plan. Man, I love that book.)

And, two, from Sarah Crewe in A Little Princess on the importance of keeping your temper.

“When people are insulting you, there is nothing so good for them as not to say a word—just to look at them and THINK. Miss Minchin turns pale with rage when I do it, Miss Amelia looks frightened, and so do the girls. When you will not fly into a passion people know you are stronger than they are, because you are strong enough to hold in your rage, and they are not, and they say stupid things they wish they hadn’t said afterward. There’s nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in—that’s stronger. It’s a good thing not to answer your enemies. I scarcely ever do.”

I’ve learned many more, valuable lessons over the years, but those two have always stuck with me.

One response

  1. Fun question–I had to dig deep in my memory bank!

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