Monday, April 20, 2009

Patience With a Dash of Fairy Dust

The other day I read about the origins of an old nursery rhyme:

sing a song of six pence
a pocket full of rye
four and twenty blackbirds
baked in a pie

The nursery rhyme has more lyrics but apparently it was really a secret way for the pirate Blackbeard to recruit new shipmates. Now I've known for years that nursery rhymes often have strange real world origins but it got me thinking about what the real world ramifications of nursery rhymes and fairy tales actually are. How much do these stories actually impact our lives?

Personally I believe they have a great impact - the literature we read as children (or have read to us) and the stories we're told help to form our personalities and lives not just when we're children but when we're adults too. Now I'm sure we've all at some point pretended to be the hero of our favourite fairy tale or story, whether we were pretending that that carpet in the living room could fly or that we were locked away in a tower waiting for our prince to come. And we've all had those moments too when we wished upon a star and doggonnit it just didn't snow in July so we could have one extra day to study for that test - and it was a great disappointment at the time - all the wind came out of our sails and a little bit of magic left our lives .... but maybe we just weren't waiting long enough for our wishes to be granted.

Let me tell you a little story (it's related - I promise). One day when I was a very young and influential child my older brother and sister and our cousin took me aside. We were very lucky growing up - we lived on a farm and there was always wildlife somewhere or other and they had found a frog just a few feet from our house - just lovely. And they told me that if I kissed that frog it would turn into a prince that would love me forever and ever ... so like any gullible child I kissed it ... and I closed my eyes, waited, and counted to ten. I opened my eyes expecting to see my dashing prince right then and there and all I saw was a disgruntled frog hopping away and some rather cruel relatives enjoying a good laugh at my expense. Little did I know at the time that in the end I'd get the last laugh - 15 years later and my prince has finally come. Banana # 2 came into my life and swept me off my feet.

We're so used to instant gratification in our lives, we forget that sometimes things take time. Sure we quote the sayings "good things come to those who wait" and "patience is a virtue" but how often do we actually practice patience in our day to day lives? But more importantly, maybe if we were a little bit more willing to wait for the good things to arrive we'd realize that there's a lot more magic in our lives than we expected.

So go on, wish upon a star tonight. Put a little bit more magic back into your life - you never know - that wish might just come true.