I have been thinking a lot about the people who have been examples to me, who made me who I am today. This line of thought was prompted by a book I recently read. It was called Down A Sunny Dirt Road By Stan and Jan Berenstain. It is an autobiography, mostly about how they became artists. I found it very interesting. I like learning about people.
The last few chapters of the book discuss the children's books they have published featuring their famous Berenstain Bears. I realized that I had grown up reading many of their books. Go To School was one of my favorites. I loved the details of their drawings. Another that I read over and over was Go To The Dentist. I read many Berenstain Bear books as a child and still enjoy reading them with my children.
I was touched by how this couple has influenced so many children. Their books are so simple and sweet. They teach simple answers to basic problems in life. I have always appreciated them for their life lessons.
But as I read the autobiography I was struck by an new realization. I want to be like Mama Bear. I always have. She has been an example of effective motherhood my entire life. Her gentleness and wisdom have always appealed to me. I can even remember thinking "I want to be like that when I grow up" as I read of her serving snacks to her kids and planning fun activities for them. I am sure that my zeal for labeled boxes of toys in the children's rooms comes directly from The Messy Room.
I found myself feeling a sense of reverence and gratitude for the Berenstains. I don't think they set out to create a series of books that would teach children how to be parents. But I do believe they worked very hard to create books that would be true and good. Isn't it amazing what happens when we have a righteous goal?
So, I just want to say thank you to the Berenstains. Thank you for following your passions and sticking to your standards. Thank you for being so willing to create so much optimism in a cynical world. Thank you for giving me such a wonderful example of motherhood! Thank you for helping me be the person I am today.