By Craig Ruvere
It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down to enjoy the wonderment of children’s literature. I suppose as we grow older and the world of far-off, fairy tale lands are tainted by reality, our need and believability in such fiction disappears.
As we continue to age, I think our child-like imagination and power to dream endlessly decreases. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons why children’s literature is no longer applicable to adults – as we’re not always able to suspend our disbeliefs.
And while the book, The Little Prince, which was written by Antoine De Saint-Exupery in 1943, was first conceived as a children’s story, it has come to be loved by adults all over the world – and I’m one of them.
I was first introduced to The Little Prince after reading the following passage: “Years ago, a friend gave me a piece of calligraphy which I have always kept in my office. It’s a quotation from The Little Prince which reads, “L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” What is essential is invisible to the eyes.” Fred Rogers
“What is essential is invisible to the eyes.” It sounded like the perfect mantra for all of mankind and prompted a visit to my local library so I could obtain a copy and experience this timeless treasure in its translated form. But as many will understand, life often gets in the way and I never did find the time to meander over to my town library. And before long my desire to read The Little Prince faded.
Years later, while sifting through the shelves of a local bookstore, I once again stumbled upon the The Little Prince while looking for an unrelated text. I immediately remembered that quote as I clutched the tiny book in both my hands – thinking about how Rogers and countless others have been touched by the values and teachings of that little prince.
And so without hesitation, I added the book to my literary collection. I assumed at first it would be written in a style geared for a much younger audience, but halfway through the first page I was pleasantly surprised – entertained as an adult while remembering the simplicity of just being a child.
Throughout the story, as we travel the galaxy with the little prince, the quote which first inspired me to read this book in the first place is echoed time and time again. We discover the great importance of looking beneath the surface to find the real truth; the real meaning; the real person that lives in all of us.
We come to understand that adults such as myself have a difficult time seeing with one’s heart instead of with one’s eyes – preoccupied with wealth, power and technology and all together missing the most important things in life such as unconditional love and companionship.
The more I read, the more I became aware that children truly know how to live as the little prince expressed numerous times. It seems only adults look past the small wonders this world has to offer – rushing from place to place in search of something bigger and better. Unfortunately, it seems we’re always searching for the wrong things, which leaves us unhappy, despondent and depressed – rushing off to the next place to continue our search.
In short, superficiality affords us a life with little meaning or substance. It’s only when we realize “what is essential is invisible to the eyes” that we begin to see clearly what’s ultimately important.
The young mind of a child, while impressionable, lives in a world of hope and wonder; dreams and imagination. They are influenced more by who a person truly is on the inside and how someone makes them feel than what they represent on the outside.
Children often play pretend when they’re young – taking on the roles of adults all around them. Maybe someday adults will realize there are benefits to sometimes thinking like a child.