To Draw Sheep: Adult Lessons from The Little Prince

“Draw me a sheep.” It’s the best pickup line ever. You won’t be surprised it was created by a smooth-talking French man. I’m serious. This weekend I re-read The Little Prince, which I plowed through for the first time as a ten-year-old. Though ostensibly for children, with its large type and delicate watercolor illustrations, this book is profoundly philosophical as it brings to light our bizarre adult world.

The storyline is set into motion when a former artist crashes his plane into an uninhabited dessert. The artist is soon approached by a young prince, who claims to have fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. “Draw me a sheep,” the prince tells the disillusioned pilot. And so begins the friendship between a grown-up and a child, whose astute observations about human nature compel his older comrade to recalibrate his approach to life.

What I find beautiful about The Little Prince – other than the artwork – is way it conveys a dual message.  On one hand, kids read about the significance of strong values, learning through metaphors how power is meaningless without integrity. On the other hand, adults are urged to never let go of the sense wonderment they had during childhood.

The next time you find yourself indoors on a rainy weekend, try revisiting a book you first enjoyed as a child.  You will feel as if you are reading a different story.

If a sketch of a mammal can be the bonding agent for one of literature’s most charming duos, then it too can be one for us adults in real life. “Draw me a sheep.” It’s a gem of a pickup line, I’m telling you. If only there were more adults out there who were willing to try it.

What is genius? It is the power to be a boy again at will. – J.M Barrie

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