Book Excerpts highlight a piece of writing that has provoked further thought for our team. In this blog Viyaleta, our Donations & Database Administrative Assistant, reflects on the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery.
“People where you live,” the little prince said, “grow five thousand roses in one garden… yet they don’t find what they’re looking for…”
“They don’t find it,” I answered.
“And yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water…”
“Of course,” I answered.
And the little prince added, “But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”
I am a grown-up. I’ve always wanted to be a grown-up and spent most of my childhood saying things that began with “I can’t wait ‘til….” A long time ago, I traveled through time and space on a giant rock, explored its wonders and wondered about its course. But after two dozen trips around the sun, life turned into routines and patterns – there were fewer surprises. My childhood turned into a faint ghost that lingers in old photo albums and distant memories. Grown-ups are like that…
Most grown-ups don’t remember what it’s like to be a child. We have seen the sun rise and set so many times – we rarely find it beautiful. We’ve grown so tired from the little sleep we get – looking up to stargaze has become a hustle. And don’t even get me started on sitting down and doing nothing! Only the children we used to be would enjoy something that silly.
It’s easy to forget that there are children on this giant rock, circling the sun with us. There are children who enjoy silly things like watching the raindrops race down the window or imagining that they have super powers. There are children who have no idea why we are always so serious and why we don’t want to play tag with them.
Unfortunately, not all children are able to enjoy their childhood. Sometimes, unfortunate circumstances lead these children into the hands of traffickers.
I’ve been asked many times about what inspired me to become an abolitionist. My answer is this: to help children be children.
Among the various reasons I’m motivated to care about children is Antoine de Saint Exupery’s book “The Little Prince,” which I re-read recently. “The Little Prince” tells a story of a pilot, who got lost in the desert of Sahara and met a very unusual character. Although going into story’s detail will take more than a mere blog post, the story’s premise is best summarized in words of Adam Gopnik, in his article in The New Yorker:
“The men the Prince meets on his journey to Earth are all men who have, in Bloch’s sense, been reduced to functions. The Businessman, the Astronomer, even the poor Lamplighter, have become their occupations, and gone blind to the stars. It is, again, the essential movement we find in Camus, only in ‘The Little Prince’ it is shown to us as comic fable rather than realistic novel. The world conspires to make us blind to its own workings; our real work is to see the world again.”
If you, too, are a grown-up and you need some inspiration, I strongly encourage reading “The Little Prince.” If you have forgotten what it’s like to be a child or if you want to understand why Love146 provides the very best care to the children who have been denied their childhood, consider hopping on a plane with Saint Exupery and getting lost in Sahara.