Le Petit Prince – A Children’s Book for Adults

Now, I don’t remember from whom I got this book from, whether it’s from my dad or a gift from my friend – it has escaped my mind. But nevertheless I’m so thankful for this book it has definitely found its way on my “Books That Made Me” list. It’s by a french author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and while written for children, many adults have come to love it too because of the different interpretations that come with it. Some may say it’s about war, the allegory of it, but I’d like to talk about what it personally means to me.

The basics of the story: was that of an aviator who has crashed his plane on a desert where he meets a young prince that has travelled from his home on an asteroid where he lives with a single rose. He began to get closer with the prince and we see the his adventures through the universe and then Earth where he got in touch with various adult behaviors. Here are some of my favourite quotes that really spoke to me:

“People where you live,” the little prince said, “grow five thousand roses in one garden… yet they don’t find what they’re looking for…
They don’t find it,” I answered.
And yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water…”
Of course,” I answered.
And the little prince added, “But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”

Sometimes we take a lot of things for granted and we ask for more and more. If we continue to have that mindset, it’s a never-ending story and we would be stuck in a constant cycle of dissatisfaction and suffering. I wouldn’t want that. And remembering from the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, if we manage to break free from that cycle, it’s where we can get peace. This book can teach children and grown ups to start appreciating the things that probably money can’t buy or to be thankful for what we already have an be content. That may sound like old news, and yes we know that already but we do have to admit that we tend to forget that. Take a look at where you’re living right now, the walls that surround you, your family, the support systems like friends who will always have your back. If we can appreciate the things that truly matter, we would be smoothly straying away from that cycle.

“What is essential is invisible to the eyes”

“If you want a friend, tame me!”

When the prince met a fox, that was what the fox said which strung a chord on me. While it’s important to use our heads when making decisions, the fox suggests that it is the heart that enables us to see clearly. Also, what people may portray to you is only their surface becase who they truly are is merely locked inside them. So, we can think of people like an onion especially when we’re in the process of getting to know them as our eyes aren’t enough to see beyond the singularity of someone or an object. We peel layer by layer, where we see them at their complexities and depth to know their story in life. By taming someone or in this case peeling someone, we are able to see their true individuality, appreciate it and in a way Iive inside their shoes. I thought “tame” was such a clever word and wonderfully explains the lesson.

As we grow up, we might lose some childlike qualities to be a proper “grown-up” but that endearing naivety, curiosity, imagination and love that the prince pours out reminds us that we were children once, where life was so simple. Growing up is inevitable and things get bitter and cold. But if we remember to use our imagination and that carefree hope we acquired as a child, some things are just a lot easier to cope with. Like the aviator in the story, by meeting the prince, he is shaken awake of all the vulgar, materialistic, utilitarian side of human existence and allows that inner child of him to spring back alive.