Henry the pig stares up at the stars to see the “Great Pig” in all it’s wonder. In sharing his exciting discovery with all of the other farm animals, he realizes that each animal sees something different in the sky and not one animal sees what he sees. WIth “his mind all aclutter”, he begins to doubt himself. He goes home and while sitting alone with the stars, he once again sees clearly, his “Great Pig” in the sky.
At first read, this book is about the nature of perception, the idea that two people can be looking at the same exact thing and see something different. For young children and their extreme sense of right and wrong, it’s a great story to illustrate how “different” does not always equate to right and wrong.
Owen immediately picked up on how sad Henry was that the other animals couldn’t see what he saw. This was the part he couldn’t reconcile with.
“Do you think the other animals will finally see what Henry sees?” said Owen.
Hmm. I thought.
“Well it’s possible, but there is a good chance they may not. But maybe Henry sees what he’s supposed to see and the others see what they are supposed to see.”
I could see Owen’s distress so I decided to approach the conversation from another place.
“Henry couldn’t see the Great Pig for a little while. How did he find it again?” I said.
Owen shrugged his shoulders.
“Well he went home and got away from the noise of the day. He had his quiet time. He had it for long enough that he could see things clearly again. This is why Mommy has her quiet time. This is why I like you and Jude to have some quiet time. It is good for us to get away from the noise. Sometimes we discover things we may have never found.”
He looked at me like some mystery had just been solved, eyes big and knowing.
“That’s why we have quiet time? Cool.” He smiled.
All of a sudden, quiet time had gone from an act of torture to a time for discovery. I wondered how long I could work this angle.
Because obviously, it’s more than an angle. For adults and children alike, we are bombarded with noise all day long. Activity, community, collaborative learning- it’s all deeply important. Yet, it’s all about the balance. Without quiet time to reflect on our conversations, our learning, our activities of the day, we may never see the truths waiting to be revealed- truths unique to each one of us. In other words, it’s all just potatoes then. No meat.
So maybe instead of calling it “quiet time”, we can pencil in some “discovery time” every day for us and for our little ones. On a good day, we can arrive at some truth, meant for uniquely us at that moment and carry this with us throughout our day. At the very least, we can navigate through the mental clutter and find ourselves looking out at the world with fresh, inspired eyes.