I remember reading his books when I was a child, so it brought me much joy when my young son took a liking to Curious George. I've been reading Curious George to him since he was an infant, maybe even earlier than that! As he has grown, his love for George has grown, too. He was so into this little monkey that, for my son's 2nd Birthday, I threw him a Curious George themed party (I'm a sucker for themed-parties :-).
Even now, two years later, we still love reading about George's silly adventures! Most recently, we have been reading the anthology books I found. So far, I've collected three anthologies, each with eight stories:
Some are the original stories written by Margret Ray, but most are recent compositions written in the author's style by a variety of writers. They all begin the same way, though: "This is George. George was a good little monkey, and always very curious". Every time we open to one of the stories, my son likes to read these dependably predictable opening lines.
As we snuggled in bed to read one this morning, I had an epiphany! I was reading "Curious George Visits the Library" (one of my son's favorites, so we have probably read it at least two dozen times) when I realized the true meaning behind these stories: children are inherently good and, though they do things that appear to be bad, these mishaps are really just a result of their desire to learn about the world in which they live.
Simple, I know! But, when George went careening down the library ramp on the book cart, and crashed into a muddled pile of library books, I thought to myself, "His love for literature and learning got him into this mess!" If my son had done something like this, my first instinct would have been to yell or cry out, "What have you done?" But, reading about this in a book gave me a new perspective: scolding George, or my son, could have a negative impact on their love for learning. I don't think the child would be able to discern that the problem is the resulting mess, but would rather associate the discipline with their curiosity. And, when we discipline a child for something, they will naturally and eventually repress that trait for fear of not wanting to get into trouble again.
Of course, I'm not advocating that children do not need structure and discipline because I most certainly believe they do. What I realized from reading Curious George this morning, though, is to tread lightly; look at the situation from your child's perspective to get a better understanding of why they did what they did.
I've been reading Curious George for most of my life, and it took being a Mom to really appreciate what this little monkey teaches us: there's a fine line between mischief and curiosity. I want to teach my son right from wrong, but not at the expense of nurturing this curiosity! Thanks George :-)
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