Fun with Dick and Jane (6-10-22)

I’ve often thought about the propaganda I was exposed to when I was taught, at the tender age of six, that some people really did have perfect families and perfect lives. And it had to be true because it was right there in my first-grade reader, Fun with Dick and Jane. They had a little sister, Sally, a dog named Spot and a cat called Puff. (If you’re of “a certain age” you can proudly recall these names. If you’re younger, you don’t have a clue. And that’s OK.)

In later years, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t recall their parents’ names. Then I realized it was because they didn’t have their own names. They were simply known as “Mother” and “Father.” This was another piece of misinformation I was given early in life. When I became a parent I would no longer have an identity of my own. I would be known only as my children’s mother.

Remember your first-grade reader? Perhaps the names were different but the concept was the same. In my reader, life was perfect. Nothing bad ever happened in Dick and Jane’s neighborhood. Mother and Father were always happy. Dick and Jane were each other’s best friends. They all doted on little sister Sally who, even though she was the youngest, wasn’t the least bit spoiled. They did their chores without being asked, looked out after each other, never argued, never tattled and actually enjoyed spending time together.

Who WERE these people?

A lot has changed in our world since we were six. Some things are better and others are a lot worse. But many of the life lessons we learned never change. We have to stick together. Look out for each other. See the good in people. Forgive others. Forgive ourselves. Count our blessings. Share with those less fortunate. Help others. Laugh more. Love more. Take care of ourselves.

What other pieces of advice have you added to your personal list over the years? How good a job are you doing at following that advice? Don’t give up now! It’s never too late to start.


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