Two kernels of wisdom from "Dear Zoo"

The delightful “Dear Zoo” by Rod Campbell was one of my toddler son’s favorite books. It was – literally – love at first sight (or hearing). I know this because we read it at least once a day, every day for 25 straight days. After that he would deign to listen to other stories inbetween, but “Dear Zoo” remained a firm favorite right through the toddler stage and even afterwards.


So I had quite a lot of opportunity to go through the stages of enjoying it myself, to delighting in his delight, to musing about whether there were larger life lessons for me hidden in its deceptively simple text and pictures.


In the end I decided there were two key life lessons (especially for the Mom me):

  • You need to ask for what you want; and
  • Perseverance is the key to getting what you want.




You need to ask for what you want

I guess this is a much broader life lesson than just about my role as a mom and is true at work and in my relationships with my significant other, my broader family and my friends. But often I forget that. Often I think that something is obvious and that the other party should want it too. (“Please tidy your room” is the most obvious example.)

People can’t read my mind and I need to vocalize my request – however self-evident I think it is. (Anyone else have those conversations in their brain around “I’m really tired, I was up half the night with a sick child last night so please can you cook dinner…without me having to ask?”)


But sometimes (okay, often), asking in itself is not enough – you need to persevere.


You seldom get what you want unless you persevere

So a typical bedtime conversation with my son:

“Have you brushed your teeth?”

Have you brushed your teeth?”

“Have. You. Brushed. Your. Teeth?”

“Why have you not brushed your teeth?”

“Brush. Your. Teeth. Now”


And in the end he brushes his teeth. (Yay for me, important parenting task accomplished.)


But there is a kernel of truth here – and it was clear in “Dear Zoo”. Often you need to make it clear to the other side of the conversation that this is not exactly what you want, even as you appreciate their efforts. And hopefully your perseverance will get the right result.


What experiences did you have while reading “Dear Zoo” to your child? Please tell us in the comment section.


And if you haven’t read it and would like to – this easy link will help ?? bd042734923ff859770a070b



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