How long has it been since you read the Velveteen Rabbit? Recently I taught an adult class the Velveteen Rabbit Lesson according to me. If you have not read The Velveteen Rabbit this year, this is a great week to do that! This little children’s story is filled with adult wisdom. In one of my favorite parts, the little rabbit is asking the skin horse about being real. The conversation sounds like this: “What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
The Velveteen Rabbit lesson is all about being real, being honest with yourself and others, letting go of pretense. Let’s spend 2016 becoming more and more real and vulnerable to those that we love. Read the Velveteen Rabbit to your grandchildren — and then read it again just for yourself. That’s my plan! Will you join me?
The Velveteen Rabbit read by Meryl Streep