Wise at Heart: Children and Adults Share Words of Wisdom by Brody Hartman, Dr. Richard Steckel and Michele Steckel
Surely the world is filled with many, many wise old souls … but I’m convinced that most humans are wisest as young children, until the media, peer pressure, other such outside forces temper their originality and imagination to make them conform to expected societal norms. Our youngest children aren’t racist, classist, sexist, elitist … they learn those behaviors by watching their elders, alas.
Wise at Heart offers an anecdote. The book’s creators created the Wise at Heart Project, spending a year “gathering wisdom insights from almost three hundred elders around the globe and nearly as many children,” cementing their belief that, regardless of “ethnicity, racial group, gender, or age … [w]e all have insights that matter and that can make a positive difference in the world.”
Divided into three sections – Wise Inside, Peace Wise, and Nature Wise – the book is filled with colorful, gorgeous, inviting, revealing photos of mostly children’s faces from around the world. The message, of course, is beautifully clear: we are more alike than we are different.
These global villagers are just waiting to share …
Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “Everyone is a VSP – a very special person. You too are a VSP.”
Matthew, age 10: “My heart wants to teach the world that EVERYONE has a great soul.”
Maddie, age 9: “Don’t listen to people who don’t believe in you.”
Emily, age 10: “Stand up. Don’t be scared.”
Tom Hanks: “Think well of yourself, but don’t say so.”
William Joyce: “Find what you love to do (paint, write, sports), and if it doesn’t hurt anybody, keep doing it. And doing it. And doing it.”
Sutton, age 9: “Focus on experiences, not things.”
Marco, age 9: “Hatred causes the greatest suffering in the world.”
Jonathan, age 6: “It only takes one person to change the world.”
Out of the mouth of babes … if only we could all be so very, very wise! And maybe we can: How about reading a page or two of this book with your children every night?What a nurturing way to end the day, and encourage a restful evening for all. Maybe someday (soon!), we could all wake up to peace together.