Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Read Elsewhere: Reading, Morality, Stories, Happiness and Bravery

From an interview with George Saunders, who I heard today on NPR:

Let me close by saying, from the perspective of someone with two grown and wonderful kids, that your instincts as parents are correct: a minute spent reading to your kids now will repay itself a million-fold later, not only because they love you for reading to them, but also because, years later, when they’re miles away, those quiet evenings, when you were tucked in with them, everything quiet but the sound of the page-turns, will seem to you, I promise, sacred. — George Saunders


From "The Velveteen Rabbit," which I've been reading to Jemma: 

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very happy. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

The girls watch this almost every morning:

"Scared is scared of the things you like."

From momastery.com:

When I started writing, my children were babies and Craig and I were new to marriage and all my stories were their stories and all their stories were mine. We all overlapped. But now my babies are growing up. They’re becoming their own little people with their own secrets and dreams and ideas that belong to them and them alone. They have their own decisions and mistakes and plans to make. And they need their mama to be a safe person to live in front of, knowing that she values their experiences as more than a series of anecdotes. I want to respect their stories as their stories. I want to teach my kids that each human being has a story as brutal and beautiful and sacred as the next, and so we don’t tell others’ stories unless we’re asked to.


From The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt:

When I began writing The Happiness Hypothesis, I believed that happiness came from within, as Buddha and the Stoic philosophers said thousands of years ago. You'll never make the world conform to your wishes, so focus on changing yourself and your desires. But by the time I finished writing, I had changed my mind: Happiness comes from between. It comes from getting the right relationships between yourself and others, yourself and your world, and yourself and something larger than yourself.

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