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Lessons from the timeless story of the small prince

The grown-up world can be so perplexing to a child.

Why don’t adults smile all the time? Why do they refuse to run around in fields and make shapes in the clouds? And why do they assume that children know nothing?

You probably remember the time when you were just a kid and you threw questions like these to your parents—completely confused about this adult world.

On the surface, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a simple story, but this small person is as wise as his messages are.

Here we listed 7 timeless life lessons from the book.

1.     Don’t be too fond of numbers

Excerpt:

“Grown-ups are very fond of numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask you the kind of questions that should be asked, such as: “What kind of voice does he have?” “What are his favorite games?” “Does he collect butterflies?” Instead, they ask: “How old is he? How much money does his father earn?” They really do imagine this is the best way to discover what sort of person he is!”

Lesson: Yes, money is important. But not everything is about money and there are things, the more essential things in life, that can’t be bought by money.

2.     Look after the planet

Excerpt:

“It’s a just a question of self-discipline,” the little prince explained.

“First thing in the morning you look after yourself, you brush your teeth and wash your face, don’t you? Well, the second thing you must do is to look after the planet.”

Lesson: We only have one Earth, so we better start taking care of it.

3.     Don’t judge others by their words, but by what they do

Excerpt:

“[My rose] filled me with her fragrance, she had brought joy to my life. I should never leave her. I should have recognized what a sensitive sweet soul there was under all her rather silly games.’”

Lesson: Actions always speak louder than words!

4.     Relationships make life worth living

Excerpt:

“What exactly does ‘tamed’ mean?”

“Well, it’s something too often forgotten,” said the fox. “I suppose it means: to make some kind of relationship.”

“Relationship?”

“Yes,” said the fox. “I’ll explain. To me, you are just a little boy like any other, like a hundred thousand other little boys. I have no need of you and you have no need of me. To you, I am a fox, like any other, like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, you and I, we will have created a relationship, and so we will need one another. You will be unique in the world for me… If you were to tame me, my whole life would be so much more fun. I would come to know the sound of your footstep, and it would be different from all the others. At the sound of any other footstep, I would be down in my hole in the earth as quick as you like. But your footstep would be like music to my ears, and I would come running up out of my hole, quick as you like.”

Lesson: Every person we meet adds invaluable meaning to our life. Even the most complicated relationships we find ourselves in, teach us something worthwhile. Relationships give opportunities to practice love, kindness, humility and patience.

5.     What is essential is invisible to the eye

Excerpt:

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Lesson: The most important things in life such as love, friendship, hope, compassion are invisible to the eyes. These things bring meaning and substance to our perception through the eyes.

6.     It is the time you give to something that makes it precious

Excerpt:

“You’re not at all like my rose.  You’re nothing at all yet,” he told them.  “No one has tamed you and you haven’t tamed anyone.  You’re the way my fox was.  He was just a fox like a hundred thousand others.  But I’ve made him my friend, and now he’s the only fox in all the world.”

“You’re lovely, but you’re empty,” he went on.  One couldn’t die for you.  Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you.  But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered.  Since she’s the one I put under glass.  Since she’s the one I sheltered behind a screen.  Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except the two or three for butterflies).  Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all.  Since she’s my rose.”

Lesson: Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is T-I-M-E.

7.    Remember to look beyond the surface.

Excerpt:

“I showed the grown ups my masterpiece, and I asked them if my drawing scared them. They answered:”why be scared of a hat?” My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant.”

Lesson: Sometimes, in the “grown-up world”, adults tend to complicate things which is why they also need to see the world the way a child sees it. /rcg

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