This summary is for adults only. Not because it is bad for children to hear but because it is about something they already know and we adults seem to have forgotten. If they want to listen in the background, that’s fine. They may even find it amusing. But adults must read it. For, it is a “matter of consequence.”
As children, we grew up with simple surroundings, simple abilities and simple goals. We only had one direction to go (up) so we went that way and didn’t think much about anything else. What was important to us was the most and only important thing in the world. But did adults take our concerns seriously? Not usually, but that doesn’t mean the thoughts and activities of a child are less meaningful than those of an adult. Even adults divide themselves into big people and little people. But a corporate officer’s concerns are no more signicant than a desk clerk’s. That is what Antoine de Saint-Exupery tries to explain in his classic tale of The Little Prince.
The Little Prince is about a child who lived in a very small world with just a few things in it that were all very special to him. When he visited the earth to save a dying flower, he saw how different a grown-up’s world was. The grown-ups always had to have more or bigger. They were always running around busily. They thought the more one could see, the more important they were. At first the little prince felt bad about the few things he had and the tasks he set out to do. But a more indepth observation of a grown-up world revealed some disturbing traits. “No one is ever satisfied where he is,” a switchman told him. “They are pursuing nothing at all.” It made him appreciate his planet all the more. The little prince went home, leaving wisdom and thought with one adult whom he had grown to love.
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The Little Prince will open your eyes to what truly matters. You will realize that it does not matter who you are or what you have. It is how you feel that is important. Grown-ups tend to lose sight of this but for the children, it is the only way they know.
“Only the children know what they are looking for,” said the little prince. “They waste their time over a rag doll and it becomes very important to them; and if anybody takes it away from them, they cry . . . ”
So the next time someone smaller than you has a thought they’d like to share, don’t waste it away by measuring it’s importance. Stop what you’re doing and listen. It is probably a “matter of consequence.”