Friday, September 12, 2008

The Friendly Snowflake

Is summer over?
Like it or not, we are in the very throes of September, and not long from now many of these snowflakes [friendly or not] shall be flying -- am I right?
The Friendly Snowflake, by M. Scott Peck.
It is significant to be aware of the subtitle of this little "kid's" book → "A Fable of Faith, Love and Family."
And perhaps important to know just a bit about the author, M. Scott Peck... bestselling author of the near legendary 1970's bestseller, The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth.
This is the only children's book that the late Mr. Peck ever wrote.
And I read it.
It was cute, uplifting, and inspirational. However, these last two adjectives may describe the very kind of thing that parents feel wary about from time to time -- "So, what is this guy preaching in here?" they may rightfully ask.
Well, this little book does touch on some rather serious questions.
Things like "What's reincarnation?" and "How do you know that our souls live on after we die?"
Both questions are asked by the protagonist, the young girl Jenny.
The first question is answered matter-of-factly, but the second question is answered in the typical respectful and non-sectarian way that Peck approached spiritual issues in all of his works. Jenny's dad answers her... "That's a very big question. In fact, it's so big I'm not going to answer it. You see, some questions are so big you shouldn't take anyone else's answer for them. It's better if you figure out your own. Often, I think that's why we're put here: to find some solutions for ourselves. I tell you what though, I'd be delighted to listen to any answer you come up with."
In my opinion... this is a good answer to the question. You may have a different opinion on that, and you should let that be your guide as to whether this is the type of book you want to read to your children. [Or not!] Because really, this is the tone of the story, in a nutshell.

It is framed around the event of Jenny having a single snowflake land on her nose and promptly melt. This simple experience causes her to begin wondering about randomness, and consequently, her own special place in the world.
She comes to the point of concluding that she is, in fact... special, and unique.
As unique as a snowflake, and more specifically her own friendly snowflake, the snowflake that found her nose.
In the Foreword, Peck says, "Being who I am, this is naturally a spiritual sort of story. It is meant to be read in such a way by young people with old souls and older people with young souls."
I, being one of these latter type, truly enjoyed it.
As soon as I meet this former type of person, I am going to give them this book as a gift.



Beth said...

Intriguing. I'd have to read it and see how Jenny dealt with that answer (although I realize it's fiction). It's not the sort of answer I ever gave my kids when they asked about death. But sometimes it's the when and why of their question that prompts how you respond.

cipriano said...

I encourage you to get the book... and then, read it... and then....... HAVE A FEW MORE KIDS!
Is this last suggestion exceeding my blog-boundaries?