I believe people sleep on children's books. Seriously. I absolutely love reading children's books, and sometimes I get those crazy looks at the library or bookstore when I show up to the counter with an array of children's books. It's not for my nephew or students -- they're for me.
Maybe it's because I get this nostalgic feeling of being a small person reading a good book and gaining some type of knowledge without a care in the world. To me, that's a slice of heaven on earth.
I'm currently reading a small chapter book called Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar. I decided to read it because it was in my classroom library and I like seeing what the kids are reading so we can have meaningful conversations.
Little did I know I would discover a nugget from this children's book that would speak to my adult self.
Here's the line:
"Do you want to be free or safe?"
Allow me to give some quick context. A student wishes to be free like a bird because he feels like the mundane routine of school is un-enjoyable, almost like he's living in a cage. So, one day he ventures to the basement, a place no one goes, and he soon meets two men who asks him if he wants to feel safe by his school routine or free. When the boy answers "free", he is sent into the darkness with no guide.
My goodness, this is so powerful!
This scene parallels life so beautifully. It literally made me stop in my tracks and think about the symbolism of human living.
Some of us are plagued with everyday, mundane routines. It is unfulfilling, unenjoyable, and will make you feel like you're in a cage you can't get out of. Some of us long for a freedom to break out of the cycle of monotony and get more out of life.
But freedom is unpredictable. It's challenging. It's spontaneous. It's "unsafe." There's no guaranteed paycheck. There's no predictability. There may even be some loneliness because people fail to understand the risk.
However, you have to decide if freedom is worth it. If it's worth your sanity, your purpose, your gift. Your path won't always look like everyone else's and you may feel like you have no guide in this world. But, to choose freedom is to choose life and life more abundantly. To be able to feel, grow, love, experience, and share.
This life is not about feeling safe in our cages. It's about stepping out of them and experience a fulfilling life on the other side.
And yes, I got all of that out of a children's book!