One of the really cool fringe benefits of being a dad is getting to read great stories to my girls. One book that Leah (my oldest) and I share as a favorite is The Chicken Sisters
by Laura Numeroff. It's about three sisters - one who loves to bake, one who loves to knit, and one who loves to sing. They're not very good at what they love to do, but they keep doing it anyway. However, their neighbors (who are rabbits and squirrels) don't care for the constant smoke billowing from the kitchen or the off-key singing and are determined to put a stop to it. That is until an old wolf moves in next door and scares everyone to death - except the chicken sisters. They love visitors and invite him in for cookies and a singing performance that give the poor wolf a horrible tummy and headache. The neighbors come to finally say that they've had enough of the sisters when they see the wolf, semi-conscious and trying to escape the sisters's house. The wolf (who turns out to be quite harmless) finally agrees to leave the neighborhood and move in with his mother in Atlantic City.
Each time we read this book, we talk about enjoying the things we love to do, even if we're not very good at them. For instance, I'm not a very good softball player (though there was a time I was a decent athlete). I usually hit the ball consistently to the shortstop and frequently overrun the ball when playing the outfield. But I really enjoy playing and try not to let my more competitive nature kick in.
We also talked about how there were always going to be "neighbors" who get angry or annoyed with us for not being good at something. These could be any number of people in our lives who think we should either give up or desperately try to improve. But they will always miss the point: it's not whether you're good at something, it's about enjoying it.
The end of the book shows the neighbors and chicken sisters having a party together. The sisters serve burnt cookies, offer itchy wool party hats, and sing. And their neighbors appreciate it all.
Categories: c.Books; c.Creativity; c.Parenting; c.Play