If you're a girl like me, reading has always been an escape from the everyday. And even though my reading tastes have changed (leaning more towards Cosmo than Winnie the Pooh), I can still grab my old copy of Harry Potter off the shelf and read the book cover to cover in a single night. Thinking back to our girlhoods, we realize that many of our first life lessons came from reading our favorite children's books. From Dr. Seuss we learned to use our imaginations and think outside the box; thanks to The Babysitters Club, we learned that you can always rely on your closest best friends; and all of our biggest questions about puberty from first kisses to trainer bras were answered by Judy Blume. And lately, I’ve been on the hunt for children’s books that teach lessons. Not academic lessons, mind you. As collegiettes buried in textbooks for finals, we have plenty of that kind. I’m talking about lessons in love.
But what do these beloved books from our youth have to do with dating you ask? Everything. There are a ton of books from our childhood that taught us valuable life lessons on growing up, including dating, relationships, and all things love! Check our reading list of the lessons in love we learned from our favorite childhood books!
The Giving Tree
“Once there was a tree and she loved a little boy. And every day the boy would come and he would gather her leaves and make them into crowns and play king of the forest… And the boy loved the tree very much. And the tree was happy.”
The Giving Tree chronicles the relationship between a boy and a tree. In the beginning, they’re playmates, but the boy grows a little bit older and starts to come around less often. This saddens the tree. When he eventually returns he’s grown up and, gradually, he takes everything she has to offer, harvesting her apples, and stripping her of her limbs until she’s nothing more than a stump. But even in the end, she loves the boy who is now an old man.
Lesson learned: Be giving, but don’t give up too much of yourself.
When I was a little girl, reading Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree always made me cry. Now, it confuses me: is the tree selfless or just self-sacrificing? This story silently speaks volumes about unconditional love and the dangers of being in a one-sided relationship. Maybe I've become a cynic in my years of dating, since true “givers” are few and far between on my campus, but looking at this story now, this sounds like a toxic relationship. Seriously, could she be more desperate? She’s willing to let the boy cut her whole trunk down so he can make a boat! No relationship is worth giving up everything about who you are. Take advice from the tree, be giving. Just don’t end let him cut you down to a stump by your relationship’s end.
The Cat in the Hat
Everyone’s favorite doctor, Dr. Seuss, has been letting us into his kooky and colorful imagination for years. From The Cat in the Hatto Green Eggs and Ham, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, he could entertain us with wacky, wonderful worlds and teach life lessons at the same time, making it fun to learn. But out of all of Dr. Seuss’s life lessons, what can he teach us about love and relationships? Try The Cat in the Haton for size. The picture story rhymes of two little kids, brother and sister, who are stuck bored at home one rainy day while their mother is out. The Cat visits, performing tricks and causing mischief, but making a lot of fun for the kids.
Lesson learned: Have fun in your relationship and think outside the box!
Try new things, be creative. Do things out of the ordinary. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut in relationships or a string of boring dinner-and-a-movie first dates. But The Cat in the Hatshows us that you can make your ownfun together. Turn a boring day into an exciting one. Stuck indoors on a rainy day together? Why not bring out the little kid in bothof you and dance in the rain? You know you’ve always wanted to recreate that scene from The Notebook. You’re only limited by your own imagination. The Cat in the Hatteaches us how to let our imaginations run wild.