Books - one of my true loves in life. As the daughter of a librarian, my love affair with reading was destined to be. My mom read to me in the womb and throughout my childhood. And now, as a busy mom, postpartum doula, and business owner, reading is a luxury that I escape to any chance I can get. So when my training organization, ProDoula, challenged its members to write a blog highlighting an important life lesson from a book they've read, I immediately accepted.
But the challenge was not just for any book - the challenge was to highlight a life lesson from a children's book.
As an avid reader, I've read countless books but I have to tell you, some of the most memorable and powerful books I have read have been children's books. And one book that always spoke to me as a child and that I've enjoyed reading with my own children is The Story of Ferdinand. Do you know it?
Ferdinand is a bull that lives in the Spanish countryside. As a young bull, Ferdinand never wanted to butt heads and play rough with the other bulls. Instead, he enjoyed sitting under a cork tree, smelling the flowers. And although he grew up to be one of the biggest and strongest bulls, he remained peaceful, always preferring to sit in the shade and sniff the flowers. But one day, men from Madrid came to his field to find the fiercest bulls for the bullfighting ring. And on this day, Ferdinand accidentally sat on a bee, causing him to go wild with pain. Thinking he was a mad, strong bull, the men took Ferdinand to the big city and put him in the bullfighting ring, naming him Ferdinand the Fierce. Despite provocation from the matadors, Ferdinand would not fight, though. Instead he wandered over to the Spanish ladies in the audience, smelled the flowers in their hair, and laid down. Disappointed, the men took Ferdinand back to his pasture, where he lived out the rest of his days - sniffing flowers and sitting in the shade of his cork tree.
So what is the life lesson in this book that speaks to me? There is the obvious message of peace and non-violence that I like. But there is something more in The Story of Ferdinand.
The big lesson here is that you are enough.
People will look at you and judge you. They will try to define you and push you to do things that you don't want to do. But you do not have to change who you are for anyone. If you have found the thing in life that makes you happy, then do that. No matter what other people's expectations of you are.
Ferdinand may have looked like the biggest, fiercest bull in all of Spain, but he did not want to fight in a bullfight. He had found his happiness sitting under a tree, smelling the flowers. He knew who he was and nobody could change that.