My boys and I drove to Polebridge, MT a couple of weeks ago. It was a spontaneous fall trip that was just what the seasonal doctor ordered.
The 4 hour car ride (both ways) gave us plenty of time for a book on CD, and with some reluctance they let me choose a book that I purchased to read to/with them nearly a year ago. Wonder made the trip so much more than I anticipated it would be. We listened, it made the miles fly by. We cried, it started a million glorious conversations about things so important. It was nearly 8 hours of narration. We hadn't quite reached the end when we pulled back in our garage 3 days later. We found ourselves lingering in the car and looking forward to the increasingly rarer moments when we'd all be in the car at the same time again.
When we reached the epilogue, one of my kiddos said that he planned to recommend the book to his entire 3rd grade class knowing that if each of them read it, or even just a few, it would make them kinder. At the end of the book the principal of Beecher Prep gives a speech and says that he hopes that each of the people in attendance will make a concerted effort to be just a little bit kinder than normal. Be consciously kind. We discuss being kind often. I tell my kids what matters, in my opinion, is that they are brave, kind, accepting of others, and loving. Possessing these qualities will make me feel like I did an okay job parenting. I don't care if you make a lot of money. My other kid thought that was a weird thing for me to say. "Why wouldn't you want us to make money? So you want us to be poor?" I want you to be humble. I want you to have humbling experiences. I want you to have enough, but not too much.
I often see these qualities in my kids, but this book, will show you these things and so many more. It is a New York Times Best Seller and that gives me so much hope for our world.
Side note: Storycorps and Humans of New York are two other places I expose my children to, on a regular basis. Sometimes it pisses them off, I get it, sometimes it is easier to not feel all of the feels. These places give me hope.
Eat a bear claw that this Mercantile. Read Wonder. Listen to Storycorps (every Friday morning on MTPR). And, follow Humans of New York. Feel the feels.