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Lessons from Storytime

June 23, 2020

I read a lot of books to my son George.

And by a lot of books I mean that, in a given week, I read the same two or three books countless times. 

He’s almost two years old, so you can imagine what these books are like. Some have silly rhymes, others have crazy characters, and a few are honestly . . . downright terrible.

But many of them, though written and illustrated for young children, contain deeper truths that apply to people of every age and stage of life.


George’s favorite book right now is The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen. 

At this point, I have two groups of people reading this blog post:

Group one has never heard of this book and wonders where the heck I’m going with this; and

Group two immediately begins saying in their heads: “I’m a pout-pout fish with a pout-pout face, and I spread my dreary wearies all over the place.”

If you find yourself in the first category, let me catch you up to speed. The Pout-Pout Fish is a book about a pouty fish whose negativity is contagious, so he spreads his “dreary wearies” to other sea creatures like Mr. Jellyfish, Ms. Clam, and Ms. Squid. At the end of the book, another fish comes along who simply gives him a kiss and then swims away. The kiss changes his perspective of his “pout,” and he realizes he too can spread love to his friends.

It’s a simple, silly story in many ways, but the final message is just as applicable to me as it is to my two-year-old son. One interaction in one moment can forever change our perspective of ourselves. And a shift in our perspective could change the course of our lives. As we’ve repeated before, the way we view things changes how we do things.

This is true for the fish in a children’s book, but it’s also true for the middle-aged CEO, the student in school, the frazzled new parent, and the retired empty nester. The great news for us is that we can be multiple people in this story. Each of us has the potential to help a friend, a family member, or a co-worker see themselves or their circumstances in a different way. At the same time, we also have the chance to have an interaction or an experience that changes our own perspective.

Consider this week how you’re helping yourself and the people around you to see through a new lens.

When you change your perspective, you can change your life.


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