Mo Willems is my hero. I think most life lessons can be learned by reading Willems. Our favorite books are the Elephant and Piggie series. These easy to read books have a simple, fun structure that my seven-year-old loves. We read them together. He reads Piggie and I am Gerald the elephant. We’ve learned a lot of lessons through these books. Here are five of my takeaways from Elephant and Piggie.
Waiting Is Not Easy: What more can be said? Waiting is not easy, for anyone, at any time. I love instant gratification. Piggie’s surprise for Gerald in this book is watching the stars, so Gerald has to (impatiently) wait ALL DAY. Gerald is struck by the beauty and magic of the sunset and stars. Waiting was worth it. So much of parenting is about waiting. Waiting at sports practices. Waiting for your kid to sleep through the night. Waiting for them to achieve certain milestones. Moral of the story: Waiting feels impossible, but often waiting is worth it.
Today I Will Fly: Piggie is certain she will fly. After a few failed attempts, she finds some friends to help her fly. Moral of the story: Be firm in your goals but flexible in your methods.
Let’s Go For A Drive!: In this book, Piggie and Gerald make a plan to go for a drive. They move down their checklist of items, from a map, to sunglasses, to bags. At the end of their list, they realize they don’t have a car. Instead of being disappointed, they transformed all of the packed items into a pirate ship. Moral of the story: make a plan, but if things don’t go as expected, seize the opportunity to still have fun.
I Really Like Slop!: Piggie tries to convince Gerald that he will love slop, Piggie’s favorite food. Gerald doesn’t want to try it. He is grossed out by it. Somehow, Gerald finds the inner strength to taste slop. He hates it, but feels closer to his friend. Moral of the story: try new things that bring you closer to friends and family. Sometimes you need to meet them halfway to show you care about them and support them.
A Big Guy took My Ball!: Piggie finds the most exciting ball. It’s huge and fun. Until a big guy comes and takes the ball away. Gerald, always protective of Piggie, is going to confront the big guy. Before he can, the big guy comes over and asks Piggie and Gerald to play with him and his small ball. Moral of the story: everyone views the world through their own lens. What is big to one person, is small to another. Always keep this perspective in mind.