Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Little Imagination

I am in a group studying Richard J Foster's Celebration of Discipline. This last week, as we were examining the discipline of Study, the question was asked, "Outside of the Bible, what book has had the most profound impact on your own life? Why?" (pg 35 Richard J. Foster's study guide for Celebration of Discipline)

There are 4 of us in the group: my mom, 2 of her friends, and myself.
As I struggled to formulate an answer, the other ladies gave answers that had crossed my mind. The Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, books that I would loved to have said had an impact on my life. However, I read these novels in my teenage years when I didn't always see the depth of meaning in my recreational reading.

The first answer I came up with seemed weak. When I read the middle books in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, I saw myself so clearly in one of the characters, that it opened my eyes to the type of man that I needed to marry. (Larch is that kind of man for the most part.)
My own well loved copy.

About the time that we were ready to move on, it struck me. Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess.
That was my favorite chapter book as a child. In some small way, I think I still hold on to the belief that dolls move when we are not in the room.

Part of me wanted to latch on to the idea that all girls are princesses. That's one of the strongest lines in the movie. That theme never appears in the book. The idea of a princess comes from Sara Crewe's wealth and her mannerisms. She often imagines herself as a princess as a motivation to treat others kindly and to put others before self.

The real message of the book is the power of imagination and seeing the values in another despite their circumstances. As Sarah imagines herself as a princess, she is able to show kindness and charity to those who are even more destitute than herself. Through her imagination she is able to forget her dire surroundings and to gain strength to fight through adversity and to see the joy in the simplest things.

A Little Princess impresses upon young girls the virtues of charity and kindness and the power of imagination. I cannot wait until Lily is old enough to read this book with me.

P. S. As I scanned the book for a line about all girls being princesses, I realized I do not remember the story is clearly as I used to. I am planning to reread it this month.

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