The other night, I read The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown to my kids before bedtime.

For those of you unfamiliar with this children’s author, I love the poetry of her seemingly simple stories. They are spare and beautiful, full of internal rhyme an

 

d alliteration and active verbs and lovely strings of words. Even my 11-year-old fell silent as he listened.

And it struck me, when I hit the page with the message, for the whole book is a metaphor, that this book could be used in business settings to teach about having faith. Business does not have to be devoid of religiosity. You can bring reverence into the mix.

 

“So the kitten caught a fish.

‘Answer me this or I’ll eat you up,’

said the kitten.

‘How is an Island a part of the land?’

‘Come with me,’ said the fish,

‘down into the dark secret places

of the sea and I will show you.’

‘I can’t swim,’ said the cat.

‘Show me another way or I’ll eat you up.’

 

‘Then you must take it on faith

what I tell you,’ said the fish.

‘What’s that?’ said the cat – ‘Faith.’

‘To believe what I tell you

about what you don’t know,’ said the fish.

The story goes on and counts very specific numbers of trees and bushes and there is a storm and then the storm ends and life on

 

the little Island is calm again. The book takes you through the seasons, highlighting the beauty of every single time of year, lamenting nothing, accepting the progression of things as beauty in itself, and then it comes to the ending, which

of course holds in its grasp one of many metaphors and universal truths this, and other children’s books, have to offer:

“Nights and days came and passed

And summer and winter

and the sun and the wind

and the rain.

And it was good to be a little Island.

A part of the world

and a world of its own

all surrounded by the bright blue sea.”

There are so many posters and sayings that point to Kindergarten as the seat of all wisdom in this world, and at this moment I must agree. What we learn early on are not only the building blocks of a life.

Playing nice, stopping to notice details, the wonder of everything in life, loving deeply and wholly, expressing emotions unfettered, exclaiming at a new taste on the tongue – all of that is the richness of life’s tapestry. We lose that as we grow older, jaded. The first time a kid at school bullies or teases, we shut down a little, and as these moments continue – people laugh at a unique thought or an outfit you are especially proud of or whatever makes you you – until we arise as adults, cynical, closed-off and full of dysfunction.

Why not recapture and celebrate the beauty and wonder of life that only the innocent hold?

Think it might just make everything in life, even our work, better?

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