You want inspiration. Insight. Advice, wisdom, a lifetime’s worth of perspective, and you want it served in one tidy spot to lap up in five minutes or less, no?
You could try meditation. Prayer. Call a mentor, perhaps book an elusive five minutes with your therapist. Or you can sneak into your kid’s bedroom and pull out any of these six classics from a well-worn bookshelf:
The Book: I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew
The Story: A young Seuss character sets off in search of a trouble-free life after a series of unfortunate events, but he encounters even more troubles along the way.
The Lesson: Confront your problems head-on rather than running away. And sometimes – to change your life, you need only to change your mind.
The Book: A Light in the Attic
The Stor(ies): Fanciful and lighthearted but not lacking depth, Shel Silverstein’s poems and illustrations offer adult-sized wisdom in easy-to-digest ideas.
The Lesson: There are many, but start with Reflection for a crash course on empathy.
The Lesson: Chock-full of social criticism, the lessons to be learned involve consumerism, vanity, loneliness, shame, greed and humanity’s very search for peace.
The Book: The Phantom Tollbooth
The Story: A mysterious tollbooth appears into the room of a bored kid; adventure and wordplay ensues.
The Lesson: Curiosity offers perspective; perspective provides happiness. If you can learn to love learning, you can learn to love anything.
The Book: The Emperor’s New Clothes
The Story: A greedy emperor is fooled by two weavers; a child is the only one brave enough to reveal the trick.
The Lesson: Question the popular opinion, and refuse to shy away from sharing the truths you believe.
The Book: Aesop’s Fables
The Stor(ies): A tongue-tied slave rumored to have received the power of gifted speech offers a collection of wise parables beloved by generations everywhere to come.
The Lesson: Too many to count, but a recent reading of The Man and His Two Wives yields the great reminder that when we seek to please everyone, we please no one.