Life Lessons From Bear Country

I read this Berenstain Bears book collection recently and it got me thinking.

Children’s books are full of lessons on kindness, caring, politeness, respect, and so many more fantastic concepts related to growing into a functioning and considerate adult. Society wants our children to respect their elders, care about others, not say mean things, help out in the community, and ultimately not be a bully.

Life Lessons: Not just for kids

But that Bear family in Bear country made me think not just about kids needing life lessons, it made me think about adults too.

Have we forgotten that showing compassion to others, being kind, saying nice things, and not being a bully, aren’t just lessons for kids?

Do as I say, not as I do.

I’m not perfect. People aren’t perfect. Adults, parents, grandparents, kids, dogs….ok dogs are pretty perfect.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone says things they don’t mean or didn’t mean to say or sometimes the words just come out wrong.

What saddens me, is the amount of hate, bullying, and complete disregard for others’ feelings that takes place on social media. People comment without thinking or considering that there is a real life person with feelings on the other side of that computer. The internet allows everyone to voice an opinion in whatever manner they choose.

Social media can be a wonderful thing when it is used as a means of connecting with others and lifting people up, but it is so often used to divide people into groups of like-mindedness and tear others down.

So today my book review is about the Berenstain Bears Caring and Sharing Treasury.

Five books in one! Can’t beat that.

But this is not just a collection of books for kids, it’s a reminder that bragging is still annoying, gossiping is unattractive, generosity is always in style, there is no one career or life path that determines success, and the world needs more unconditional love.

bears caring and sharing

The Berenstain Bears Caring is Sharing Treasury (2016, Zonderkidz, Picture Book)

This treasury of Berenstain Bears books contains five books on the theme of kindness. Brother and Sister Bear learn about jobs, helping others, being good neighbors, gossiping, and bragging as they explore Bear Country. There is a lot going on in Bear Country, and Brother and Sister get into trouble along the way, but with the help of each other, their family and friends can set things right?

The Caring is Sharing Treasury written and illustrated by Stan, Jan and Mike Berenstain, consists of five books in one volume. The books included are: Jobs Around Town, Get Involved, Love Their Neighbors, Gossip Gang, and The Biggest Brag. This is an impressive collection of Berenstain Bears tales, reminiscent of the original stories. Children will love these fun stories, and parents will love the heart-warming messages. Great stories to get children thinking about their actions and interactions with others.

Five stars

Thank you to Zonderkidz and BookLook Bloggers for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Like Sand Through The Hourglass…

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”
― C.S. Lewis

I remember when I started college, everyone complained about how many years they would be in school if they decided to become a veterinarian.

Four years of undergraduate study! Four years of veterinary school! Eight years of classes and exams!

Perhaps eight years is a long time. For an 18 year old, that’s 44% of their life. For a 24 or 25 year old, that’s about 33%, or 1/3 of their life. That’s a lot of time to devote to something.

But then I remember someone saying…the time will pass anyway.

I googled this to see if there was a quote this statement originally might have come from and I found this wonderful gem:

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
― Earl Nightingale

Often a situation just needs a new perspective. In this case, everyone was complaining about how long it would take to achieve the goal of becoming a veterinarian. But, it’s not really about the time is it?

4 years, 8 years….time passes anyway. But will you be a veterinarian at the end of 8 years? Will you be an author? A pilot? A teacher? An electrician? Or will you be in exactly the same circumstances as you were at the start of those 8 years?

Will you use your time to achieve a dream? Or will time just pass?

Sometimes with writing, the word counts for novels can be overwhelming. How could I ever write a 65,000 word story? Or even 20,000 words. That would take so much time!

But then I try to remind myself that the time will pass anyway.

“You may delay, but time will not.”
― Benjamin Franklin

If I wrote 1,000 words a day, at the end of 20 days I would have a rough draft of a middle grade book, or in 65 days I would have a rough draft of a young adult book.

One month, two months….where will I be?

Will I have a draft to work with at the end of two months or will I still be sitting and dreaming?

As I’ve been reminded in many books I’ve read lately, time is not guaranteed to anyone. No one knows how much time they have and yet it’s often perceived as both a cheap, infinite resource, and as an expensive, limited one.

“I have all the time in the world to get that done!”

or

“That would take too much time!”

It’s not always easy to remember. Dreams can seem overwhelming. Other aspects of life get in the way and use up precious hours, but things worth having are always worth the time.

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

The Trouble with Time

I remember reading an analogy when I was little that compared a person’s day with a vase full of rocks.

If you pour the little rocks in first, the big rocks won’t fit. The little rocks will fill up the bottom of the vase and the big rocks will try to fit on top but there will be lots of gaps between them and they won’t all fit.

If you place the big rocks in the vase first then pour the little rocks in, the little rocks can fill in all the gaps between the big rocks and all the rocks fit in the vase.

The vase is all the hours of a day and the rocks are daily tasks. Big rocks = big, important, or time-consuming tasks. Little rocks = small, less important or quick tasks.

For some reason this analogy has always stuck with me.

What color is this vase? Irrelevant, you say? Fair enough.

There are so many distractions around us with the internet constantly clamoring for attention. How many times have I wasted an hour on Facebook when it felt like fifteen minutes?

Or felt like I needed something to pass the time, so I pulled out my phone to play a mindless matching game.

Oooh! I unlocked a new level!

Growing up I don’t remember feeling this desire to be doing something constantly. I remember enjoying quiet moments. Times when I could sit and think and make up stories.

I loved to watch TV and play Nintendo, of course, but I was reaching for a book instead of my phone before bed. I could take a walk in the woods and not be connected to anyone.

I only purchased a smart phone two years ago. Before that I hated the idea of a smartphone. I didn’t want to be connected to everyone all the time. I liked feeling disconnected. I liked living in the quiet spaces of my mind without the constant buzz of data humming in my ear.

But oh how addicting that smart phone is!

It’s a strange sensation now to go anywhere without my phone. I was on call 24/7 while I worked with the circus, so that helped form this attachment, but then it simply became a habit to take my phone everywhere.

Check emails. Check Facebook. Check my blog. Check twitter.

So many things to look at!

So many distractions!

So many small rocks!

Dear Google, What is the composition of these rocks?

My phone, and the constant checking of emails, social media, etc. was chipping away at all the hours in my day.

My phone time was a bunch of small rocks. Small rocks filling up the bottom of my vase and leaving me with less time and focus to fit in all the big rocks.

I wasn’t giving myself moments of quiet. I wasn’t sleeping with a book next to the bed. I wasn’t daydreaming.

I’ve been focusing on big rocks lately. There are still a few big rocks that involve the internet or my phone. Big rocks like my blog and book reviews, but there are also a lot of little rocks like Facebook and Twitter that need to wait their turn.

Writing is a big rock and it’s amazing how much I can get done in the same amount of time I might have spent on Facebook.

Leaving my phone at home is an easy way to eliminate lots of pesky little rocks from a day I’d like to fill with big rocks.

Little rocks are sneaky, they slip into the vase and before you know it all the big rocks are spilling off the top and another vase is full.

Another day is done.

Excuse me, I’d like a bigger vase.