It’s A Secret Safe to Tell, But Are You Compassionate to Listen?
Reading books is what reminds me why I fell in love with words. They have this power to speak even about situations where the voice remains, or is forced to remain silent. They have this magic that heals the deepest of scars and celebrates the strongest of bonds. They speak in few pages and with some images, the story of a life and if needed, a lifetime.
It amazes me that I find books in the unlikeliest of places. I found a Readers’ Digest magazine omnibus in the shop where we give our old newspapers. The man gave it to me without asking for money. I don’t know if it was because he was compassionate, or because he didn’t know what it was. I find some interesting thrillers in the “free” category of Kindle e-book store. And out of the blue, I found this book in a group of bloggers who are coming together from all over the world to write about compassion, kindness and such, to promote goodness in the world.
I have been around children, taught them at one time, and their innocence makes my life more cheerful, makes me feel more loved. They trust easily, and the twinkle in their eyes just makes it impossible to be angry at them, so it has always baffled me how people can be cruel to children without feeling guilty. “A Secret Safe to Tell” is a small book, about a young girl who has a “friendship” with an adult male. The friendship gets uncomfortable, but she finds no one willing to listen to her, everyone around her too busy to listen to her worries. She becomes sad, till she finds someone who does listen to her and helps her.
Naomi Hunter’s book is, to me, a story that shows there is compassion in the world to balance that cruelty. The cruelty is not just the abuse that the girl is subjected to, but also the disregard for her, to listen to her when she needs someone she trusts to hear her sorrows and worries. Many a time, it’s the absence of that “kind ear” that makes the worries seem stronger than they are. It’s that absence that children might be able to take most when they read this book. And the ending to this book helps to help them understand that there will be people who are willing to listen. And that they are not alone. It’s a book that breaches a sensitive topic with a gentle, yet firm hand, thanks to the illustrations; not just with girls but with all children.
Lao Tzu said “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” This book teaches something valuable with a simple story and simple, but beautiful illustrations. And it shows the value of compassion, the need for a patient ear to listen, in a time, a situation where a little heart is overwhelmed by the cruelty of the world around her. It’s a book that I’m happy to have read.
(© 24th January 2015)