Hannah, Growing Up, and Pinocchio

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Yesterday our grand-daughter Hannah was 16. The usual presents, cake, balloons… sadly the family could only join on Zoom. Hannah’s ‘growing up’…!…?

#Pinocchio from Books and Art

Last week I read ‘Pinocchio’. The book’s not like the Disney film about a cute little boy. Like other 19th century children’s books it’s a mixture of weird nonsense, talking animals and a moral tale that can be taken on a number of levels…

Geppetto carves a puppet, Pinocchio, out of wood. The puppet comes to life, goes through a number of adventures, and eventually ‘grows up’ and becomes a boy…

Pinocchio suggests that growing up is about …

  • …making good moral choices. When Pinocchio tells a lie his nose grows… As well as lessons about honesty he also learns about reliability, hard work, choosing between enjoying himself or taking responsibility, the value and limitations of money and education…
  • …choosing good friends. Pinocchio chooses bad friends – the fox, the cat, Lampwick… Naïve and gullible Pinocchio believes the friends’ lies; following their advice things always go wrong. He really is a puppet – with others pulling his strings.
  • …believing change is possible. Pinocchio always believes that he can change – but doesn’t have the strength to make it happen. When things are at their worst, following an episode that resembles the Biblical story of Jonah, Pinocchio finally ‘grows up’.
  • …recognises the powers of good. Geppetto, his ‘father’, and the Blue Fairy are forces of good, wanting the best for Pinocchio. They don’t force themselves on him but wait in the background. ‘Growing up’ includes renewing a good relationship with them.

My hope and prayer for Hannah growing up is that she will make good moral choices, choose good friends and always believe that change is possible – both in herself and in her situation.

And that she will recognise and stay close to good people who have a positive influence, and the God who only wants the best for her.

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