Story Time: Old Turtle

I wasn't going to feature this book at first because it's about God and for a thousand reasons I feel uncomfortable talking about God here because spirituality (in my experience) is a completely personal thing.
... And then I decided that I had to feature this book because The Old Turtle "God" is for everyone, even atheists. Because, if the Internet is any indication, none of us know how to listen to each other anymore. (I recently made it a point to steer clear of twitter because it's become one giant mob mentality yell-fest. Everyone is so angry with everyone else. Finger wagging and finger pointing and shit-talking and all around meanness.)

None of us want to hear the other's point of view. And it isn't just about God, it's about everything. It's about healthcare and feminism and humanism and parenting... We are DEMANDING to be heard instead of reminding ourselves to listen. We are retweeting posts until they go viral and then smashing them on the flipside. We are coming together for the greater "good" of humiliating someone who "deserves" to be humiliated. Maybe this has always been the case but it has felt far more pronounced these last few months. Twitter needs a copy of Old Turtle, man. And a lesson in empathy.

We all do.
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We can only speak from our own experience so we do. I speak from mine and you speak from yours and our voices are overlapping but we refuse to listen. We are too entitled too listen. Too opinionated to listen. Too empowered. Too afraid. Too "liberal," too "conservative," too "feminist." Too angry. Too afraid. Too certain. Too much.

This is the age of the retweet and repin and curated list. Of taking ideas that belong to the masses and attaching our names to them. Because it's easy and we all want easy. We want to buy the things that are easy. We want to live easy. We want to read things that do not challenge our way of thinking.

We teach our children to come together. We put them on teams. Into groups. But there are few places where children can learn how to stand up for what is right as individuals. Where their comfort in themselves surmounts their comfort in the group.

Robots or rebels, man. (The rebel, in this story, of course, is an empathetic old turtle who understands the world because he listens to it. He models the very thing he speaks to and for and because of. And that is why his words have power. That is why the creatures listen. Because "god" is in all of us and TRUE voice of reason is the man/woman/child/creature who speaks to instead of at.)
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Cheers to The Old Turtles in the house and to doing what we can to raise more of them.


Old Turtle is written by Douglas Wood and illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee.  Some amazing reviews on Amazon as well.