Pete the cat is new phenomenon in my parenting world. I had glanced at a few books in the library but wasn’t interested until I heard “I Love my White Shoes” read at a toddler story time. I saw those kids LIGHT UP, sing along, and interact with the story. It was a toddler version of participating in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was amazing and fun and I knew that Pete the Cat and I would become well acquainted in the very near future.
We now own four Pete the Cat books and read-along CDs. There is something a little hokey about Pete’s slogan, but the moral of these stories are lessons that took me nearly 36 years to learn and be able to practice successfully.
Lesson #1: Focus on the positive
In “I Love my White Shoes” , Pete has several mishaps where he steps in a variety of messes that change the color of his beloved white shoes. And each time he steps in some sort of goop, not only does the color of his shoes change, but he remains positive and loves those shoes with the same intensity. In fact, the line in the story is: “Did Pete the Cat cry??? Goodness, No! He kept walking along and singing his song”. And the best part are the thought bubbles that appear. Each contains a positive thought associated with the challenge Pete is faced with.
To me, this is letting children know that attitude and perspective matter. It tells them they have a choice in how they want to view and react to events that may be outside of their control. This is a wonderful message for children who are grappling with socialization skills, gaining confidence and independence, and learning through modeling other’s behavior.
Remember, happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely upon what you think.
– Dale Carnegie
Lesson #2: Follow your own bliss / March to the beat of your own drum
“The moral of Pete’s story is: “No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song….because it’s all good”.
I love this! It is so true in nearly every aspect of life. Sometimes you step in dog shit (or a at least I have on a few occasions), or bubble gum spat onto the sidewalk, or a bird poops on you (hey, these things do happen…), or you get a glob of baby poop on your hand during a diaper change (oh yeah, been there!). The only thing that matters is what I do next. Do I get angry, annoyed, irritated, curse, blame my child, kick my dog, declare to the universe that I have the ABSOLUTE WORST LUCK or do I acknowledge that the universe has a sense of humor and I should too? It comes down to thoughts and actions. And in my opinion, cool, laid back Pete the Cat has it right; “”No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song….because it’s all good”.
Lesson #3: Don’t sweat the small stuff / Everything you need you already have
This lesson comes from Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, in which Pete’s favorite shirt eventually loses it’s cherished buttons.
“Did Pete cry? Goodness, no! Buttons come and buttons go. Pete looked down at his buttonless shirt, and what do you think he saw? HIS BELLY BUTTON! And he kept on singing his songs:”
This just goes to show that this physical world is limited and things don’t last, they are just “things” (e.g. buttons come and buttons go). But you always have YOURSELF, and that is the most important thing.
What’s your favorite lesson from a children’s book? Please share in the comments section below.
*This post was originally written in 2016 when my now pre-schooler was a toddler. And you know…she STILL likes Pete the Cat. 🙂