Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thunderstorms and Rainbows

I read Ella her first ever Margaret Mahy story last night. It was a short story called Thunderstorms and Rainbows. After she accepted the fact there weren't going to be pictures to accompany the words we both settled into it and really loved it.

I am ashamed to say that while I know Margaret Mahy would have been a staple part of my childhood reading I don't have massively vivid memories of any particular Margaret Mahy story. But I did so enjoy this story and it has given me a bit of an inkling of what reading with the kids is going to evolve into as they get older. all honesty I am completing this post a week on from starting it. Not because of boredom but more to do with time and needing to really think through what it is I wanted to say and what it was I actually got from this little short story.

I have been thinking about it on and off every day ever since reading it a week ago. To summarise (badly)....its about this little town called Trickle which happens to be the most watery rain drenched town in the world. Its a dying town because visitors were getting turned off by the rain.

They tried to make up for the rain by doing all sorts of cool other things, like their town fountain shot fireworks instead of water etc etc....but things got a shake up after a bit of a fuss around the arrest of a visitor for commenting on the rain (they had a law against anyone mentioning the rain to try to stem the bad press getting out). Turns out this particular visitor actually came because of the rain because he loved thunderstorms and rainbows, which the town had in abundance but took for granted. He helped them design a marketing campaign to attract tourists to the town based on these unique inherent qualities magical rainy qualities. So this new campaign focused on the positives of their rainy state and didn't try to hide it away or distract with firework sprouting fountains.

So I have been spending the week thinking about what the deeper message behind this story was and I have decided on a couple of ideas.

  • Stop trying to be what you think others want you to be.
  • Focus on finding and then enjoying those things which come naturally to you, with practise you will even start to see specialness in those traits you might have taken for granted or weren't that proud of (rain = rainbows!). 
  • Once you've hunted down those traits/ talents/ quirks/ passions which come naturally to you, practise them out loud and show them off regardless of whether you feel you are good by others standards. By striving to be the best and brightest truest version of yourself, you are giving people the chance to appreciate and admire you for the best reasons.
  • Happy ever after endings come to those who find happiness in themselves first and foremost (i.e. not in how others view them).
  • Its all a matter of attitude, even those things you take for granted or were worried others didn't think were cool come over all cool if you do it out loud with enthusiasm and conviction.
I'll probably go around in circles over all this a few more times but I am happy to do that. I just really enjoyed the way this story has gotten me thinking. Highly recommend it and highly recommend hunting down your own rainbow and thunderstorm talents and then hooking up with your own society of rainbow lovers - just like the town of Trickle did.