The Important Book

This morning as I was hastily getting things done around the house, I got temporarily flustered. (This is nothing new for me, alas.) I really couldn’t decide what I needed to accomplish first.

Should I tackle the errands that needed running, or would it be a better use of time to get some cleaning done. I imagine that all of you other parents out there can sympathize with me: some Monday mornings make it devilishly difficult to decide what is most important.

On any frantic Monday morning, I imagine that children might be inclined to the same feelings sometimes, too. For the youngest of kids, the kinds of things that are important might look a little different from what you or I might think of. While I might opine on the need for my kids to take apples over Cheetos in their sack lunches, they might wonder about the nature of an apple in and of itself.

Thankfully, the late Caldecott award winning children’s writer Margaret Wise Brown, broached the subject in her tome, “The Important Book.” Providing young kids a way to determine the importance of a given object, be it a chair, a table, an apple or other object, by remembering what is most important about the object.

It was Brown’s way of distilling an item down to its essence… the most important thing about an apple, for instance, is its roundness. While I may not necessarily agree that roundness is the most important thing to remember about an apple’s “appleness,” but the book does bring the basics of each object down to a kid-friendly level. In our hurried world of Monday morning errand decisions, books like “The Important Book” reminds us to slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy some quiet time contemplating some important things with the kids in our lives.

After reading this book with the kids, I’ve decided what to do with my time with them next Monday morning. I’ll be taking them by the hand for a walk in the park where we won’t just visually take in the objects we encounter. Nope, with “The Important Book” as our guide, we’re going to evaluate trees, dogs, flowers and clouds to determine the most important thing about each object.

 During that walk, I know that I will be doing my own evaluation on what matters most, as inspired by “The Important Book.” Namely, what makes each kid unique, special and the most important attributes that make them, well, them. I may not be able to narrow it down to one or two things, but it will certainly be a more productive use of a Monday morning than errands or laundry.

And, that’s important.

You can acquire a copy of Brown Wise’s “The Important Book” here.