Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Little Engine that CAN

Tonight, I decided to dig under the pile of hundreds of children's books that line the shelves in our living room and grab some "fresh literature" for the little 2-year-old "reader" of mine. We have read the same four books that he LOVES about 400 times and this mommy needed a change of scenery. 
We have read them to Shea so much that even he has most of the books memorized. I decided to add a little variety to our bedtime story routine. So I dug up one of my old favorites.
What "Hello, Mr. Met," is to Shea, "The Little Engine that Could," is to me. But tonight I read it through a different pair of eyes. I wasn't marveling at the colorful pages with no thought that each of those black scribbly lines was a letter that made up a word that told a story. I was just letting the story unfold before me. Tonight I was laying it out for my son. Tonight I read it through the eyes of a mother and a teacher. I think that is who Watty Piper (which is really just a pen name for Arnold Muck....save that in your Jeopardy answer bank) was writing it for, after all. He knew we moms and dads and teachers would be reading these to our students and learn a lesson that is way over the heads of our little listeners.
Here is my formal book review of "The Little Engine that Could."
This is the story of the little engines that have been placed in our hands to teach and inspire. 
This little engine come into the world so excited about what it had to bring.
It was filled with all things good and jolly. Of course, it isn't perfect. But it has so much good to bring to the world. And somewhere along the way something happens.
Somewhere it hits a bump or gets discouraged or fails and its wheels stop with a sudden jerk. It tries and tries to get those wheels going again, but they just won't.
Then a spiffy new train all shiny and gold, or a cute new friend or boyfriend or girlfriend, or a new teacher came along that think will give them the help they need to get moving again.
But that shiny new engine, or hot new guy or gal, or new favorite person decides they are too good for them. They think they have it all with their comfortable beds, and fancy cars,
and a more distinguished crowds, and nicer views.  And that engine filled with jolly things gets left behind until someone new comes along.
And someone does, someone big and strong. They start to think, "surely this one has enough to get me on track again."
But this person has been there and done that and already has their success story. They've played their part and reached their quota. They have the results to prove it-and data and certificates and medals and success stories to back it up. They have been there and done that. Their job here is done. And they get left behind again.
This gets them thinking they will never get up and running again. They will never get over the mountain that stands before them. And, "I can not. I can not. I can not," starts to ring in their heads.
Then along comes the LITTLE engine. The underdog shows up just in time. Then the LITTLE engine spots the one that has fallen through the cracks. It notices that sad little engine filled with jolly little toys and all things good. It stops in its tracks. 
That new engine that comes along doesn't have all the answers. It has never been over the mountain either. 
The little engine starts to think this job  is too big to handle. Then the engine remembered all of those wonderful things the engine in need had to share.
So she grabbed that engine all stuck in a rut and didn't stop pulling until that engine was unstuck.
They cheered each other on. They just kept saying together, "I think I can. I think I can." They didn't give up on each other.
Together they reached the mountaintop and saw all of the possibilities laid out before them. 
And the world is a better place for all that that engine had to bring. 
And as they made their way into the city they chanted together, "we knew we could, we knew we could."

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