Your building blocks

Topic: How childhood stories shape our lives?

We all grew up to know fairytales, parables and other children’s stories. Each of us must have our own long list of favourites from then up to now; those stories that we can relate to or those tales that we wished to be a part of when we were young. These stories echoed in our minds as every story told to us by our friends and more importantly our parents does. Their plots must have helped draw who we are today and in one way or another, they must have built the blocks that led us to change.

Most stories that we’ve read or heard gave us something to contemplate about. Who among us haven’t heard Cinderella’s story; how her father left her, how she was terribly treated by her stepmother and stepsisters? This occurrence of cruelty in a children’s book may have gave us dismay – even fear when we were still young. However as we get older and have a wider understanding of the world, Cinderella’s situation proves to be one of those bitter truths in our life. It is true that she was mistreated and she was truly in grief, after loosing her mother and her father leaving her to someone she doesn’t fully know. But if we look deeper, those hardships that she faced may or may not, at some point in our life, happen to us. On a very symbolic way, the author gave us an idea that at some point in our life, we would experience pain and sorrow and that we would get hurt every once in a while. It is not impossible that we find ourselves in Cinderella’s situation, but as it was presented in the story, we would always find a way to escape such challenges and if we are not able to do it on our own, there will always be some supernatural being that would aid us in our undertakings. All these were incorporated in the plot: the way she sneaks out of their mansion to find her “happiness”, her fairy Godmother, and her having a happy ending. These all leads us to conclude that when we are faced with trials, we must be strong and we should have the courage to do what it takes to succeed. Cinderella wasn’t just about love, it also taught us how to be resilient, how to withstand pain, after all Cinderella did, so can we.

Just as much as we learn from Cinderella, among many other books I have read and loved, The Little Prince gave me a lesson on how I should view things in life. The story revolved around the Prince and the narrator. The narrator, who once tried to draw a snake eating an elephant, met a Prince from a distant asteroid when he landed in the Saharan dessert. Most people when the narrator was still young viewed his drawing as a hat, but when he showed this picture to the Prince he saw it like how it should be; an elephant-eating-snake. At another point in the story, the narrator tells about the Prince’s rose to which he (Prince) fell in love with. He thought that his rose was unique when they lived lone in their asteroid, but when he got to earth and saw there a bunch of roses. He started to give his rose less importance, but then the fox came and told him something about being responsible for whatever we have tamed. We may view things lightly today, and we may not see what they truly mean yet, but as soon as we broaden our minds of what they truly signify, then we’ll get to see their true importance. We are so used to seeing things as they visible to the naked eye, what we did not know is what lies before us, if we could only see through what is already seen. It is not always what is apparent that is substantial. If we would only look at things using our eyes, we will never really see what it means, but if we open our hearts and let it speak to us, and then we would see that ray of light, that blissful understanding of things—of the world.

One could also see a hidden lesson in Ali Baba and the forty thieves. Ali Baba who was an honest man came to know a secret cave where treasures were kept; these were valuable things which thieves have kept magically in the cave. He was able to hear how to access the cave thus was able to take some gold for himself. This made him, well-to-do. His brother Cassim who was full of greed found out about this cave where Ali Baba was getting his resources from. He ordered Ali Baba to tell him how to get to the cave and so did he. Once Cassim was there, he saw the vast amount of treasures and was succumbed to by his greed thereby forgetting how to get out. The thieves find him there and kill him. Ali Baba searched for his brother and found him in the cave, dead. He took his brother’s body and gave him an appropriate burial. The thieves found out about this and decided to kill whoever it was who knew about their secret, however their will to avenge was not successful that it backfired on them. All the thieves died and Ali Baba lived “happily ever after”. The story goes to show that seeking revenge would not do anyone good, neither would greed. Cassim’s greed and the thieves’ desire to take on Ali Baba is a concrete example of how we tend to seek our own benefit without thinking about others and in the extremities we even step on others’ very being and even lead them to their deaths. This have helped me see things in the way others do, not just within my perspective but more so in theirs. I’ve learned to put my self in their shoes, empathize when necessary just so I could kill any trace of greed and vengeance that might occur within me. Ali Baba and the forty thieves may have looked like a killing spree, but it this is where I’ve learned the importance of selflessness.

I may have named only a few stories that have shaped me as a person, but these three are among those stories that I would truly treasure. Stories that I would tell my children; their children; and their children’s children so long as I live. For these aren’t just children’s stories that were made to amuse youngsters. These are tales that were based on possibilities, the kind of stories that children would enjoy when they were still young, and reflect on when the time has come.

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