Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Parenting Lessons from Children's Books: The Runaway Bunny

illustration by Clement Hurd

Last month, I read The Runaway Bunny  to A and C for the first time. Since then, it has become a favorite at story time.  Through the book, the naughty bunny creates elaborate fantasies of escaping from his mother. He promises to become a crocus, a rock, a sailboat, but my heart just about dropped out of my chest when he said he would become a bird to fly away from her. Bunny's mother responds simply: 

"If you become a bird and fly away from me, I will be the tree that you come home to." 

I had to take a moment to regain my composure.  What a poetic job description: a  shelter from the storm, a home, a tree that a bird comes home to.  Life holds so many disappointment for children.  Their little hearts are so optimistic.  They are so eager for acceptance, without fear of rejection.  In a way, I welcome the disappointments.  If they are never picked last for a team, if they only have positive interactions from their peers, they won't easily develop a compassionate heart- something I want so much for them to have.  We've already begun experiencing this with A, and it breaks my heart, too.  

I can't shelter him from all of those disappointments, and I don't want to.   I can, however, be his home, his shelter from the storms of growing up, a tree that my little birds can come home to.  


  1. I love love love this book! Such strong emotions when I read it to my boys. As a kid I just loved the pictures, but now it means so much more. Sad to say, my dad hates it, because the naughty bunny gets "rewarded" by love no matter what. I disagree! I think the lesson of unconditional love is so uplifting--that our children need to feel that from us, just as we need to feel it from our Heavenly Father. When we are naughty, we're more likely to return to a loving parent rather than a disapproving parent, aren't we?

  2. Makes me think of The Giving Tree, the tree gives and waits for the boy to return. I don't think I've read that book, it sounds sweet. I enjoy your sweet notes to your boys.


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