We had an author visit at our campus yesterday. Carmen Oliver treated our kindergarteners and first graders to stories of her reading life as a child and the story she's published, Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies.
The teachers and myself in the over-forty-demographic sighed as she spoke about her favorite childhood books--Dr Seuss, The Tawny Scrawny Lion, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, and The Little Engine That Could.
I hadn't thought about Watty Piper's classic train tale in quite awhile. Listening to Carmen summarize the story and its message for the students, I was filled once again with that little engine's determination and optimism.
Another thought occurred to me this morning. That little engine had a clear purpose, an envisioned goal that served others in a worthy cause. When we reference Piper's book, we often focus on the perseverance aspect, which I can certainly relate to after finishing the March Slice of Life Challenge and blogging everyday. I thought I could, and now know that I can. But maybe we need to focus on the act of service the engine performed. It worked hard, not just for itself, but for the good of those in need. In the end, the engine celebrated not just its own accomplishment, but the completion of a task that brought happiness to a whole town.
I think that act of service might be the most important lesson in The Little Engine That Could. It would certainly make a better filibuster than Green Eggs and Ham--no offense meant to Dr Seuss, of course.