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  • Writer's pictureRogene "Jeannie" McPherson, Country Notebook

Becoming Real

Updated: Jul 4

Country Notebook

By Rogene "Jeannie" McPherson

“And when you are REAL, shabbiness doesn’t matter.” 

“What is real?” 

“Real isn’t how you are made…It’s a thing that happens to you.” 

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, 1922

With Easter just around the corner, instead of too many sugar-coated eggs and chocolate-stuffed bunnies, how about tucking into the Easter basket, the classic story of a stuffed rabbit becoming REAL? To be a classic implies the story is one of the most famous works in literature from the past. For more than 100 years, children have enjoyed the reading of the tale of a boy and his favorite toy.

As Grandma Good Times, I’ve bought my share of noise-making toy cars, trucks, and trains, but almost every gift-giving holiday like Easter, I still choose an age-appropriate book. The Velveteen Rabbit will go to two of my grandchildren this year. Why this book? The story-line addresses some basic life skills like imagination, love, comfort, overcoming obstacles, and being REAL.  

Thus far, I’ve built a case for children possessing a copy of this book. It is equally good for adult entertainment and learning. After each reading, I ask myself, “Am I real?”

What does it mean to be real? In the Velveteen Rabbit book, a toy rabbit becomes real when the magic Fairy kisses the rabbit, puts him down in the grass and tells him to run and play. He is now at home with the other wild rabbits running and jumping and twitching his ears. Nice, sweet and heart-warming story, don’t you think?

In the adult world, being a real bunny takes on a new meaning. For example, when I turn into my driveway, far too many real rabbits run back and forth blinded by the car lights. Even a gardener doesn’t mind having a few cute bunnies, but in the daylight hours, the damage caused by lots of rabbits becomes obvious. The new growth of young trees and bushes have been chopped off diagonally by the rabbit’s strong teeth.  Being real, in this instance, means telling what is actually happening. In other words, telling a truth. The truth is that rabbits can be a nuisance. 

Children’s books hopefully inspire, but I also like that they encourage imagination and entertain. This idea may seem like a contradiction to telling the truth, but as children grow and mature they need experiences in which adults can discuss the difference between true and false. “It’s it fun to think the bunny rabbit now lives outside the boy’s home, but just like the fairy it’s only make-believe.” 

My opinion on the question, “What is real?” is that being real involves telling the truth. 

Perhaps the question about being real should be, “What is the truth and do I tell the truth as I see the situation?”

As I write, it’s late at night and truthfully my brain cells are getting tired and confused. Simply put, by being real, here are three truths I stand ready to defend.

  1. Children learn to read by being read to and having their own books.  Hence, buy a child a book for Easter.

  2. Children are some of the most honest creatures God has made. Hence, practice being child-like in thought and word. Dressing up in an Easter bunny costume may be going too far, however.

  3. Children need inspiring role models.  So I leave you with a verse of encouragement from scripture.  Celebrate Easter and the greatest story ever told. 

 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.  3 John 1:4 (NIV)

Rogene “Jeannie” McPherson, from the Centerville area, is a regular contributor to the Linn County Journal. She recently published a book about her experiences entitled Posts from the Country, Adventures in Rural Living. It is available online in both virtual and printed editions. Copies are on the shelves at all Linn County libraries.

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