9.04.2011

Get REAL

I was still in Wisconsin living as a farmer's daughter milking cows when the REAL seal hit the market. Yep, it's been around for awhile. The reason I remember it SO well is because it was right around the time that I'd been named Brown County Holstein Girl (I am NOT making that up - quit laughing!) and I referenced the REAL seal in a speech I gave.  I'd love to have a copy of that speech today, but sadly, there isn't one; I was woefully unprepared to give a speech that day (I hadn't practiced and there were no notes or anything) which makes this vivid memory-lane trip one of my least favorites to revisit as well as a blog for another time.
   After the REAL seal was introduced, I learned to look for it on dairy products; margarine, for example, was imitation butter and was not the kind of product that could carry the REAL seal.  If it didn't bear the REAL seal, then it was fake.  Pretend.  Artificial.  Imitation.  A substitute.  An impostor.  Not REALly dairy at all.
   Coca Cola once advertised their soda with the slogan:  It's The Real Thing.  I can still hear the melody in my head.  So what exactly is it that makes a product REAL?  What is it about REAL that makes something so attractive and desirable?  What makes a person REAL?  Is REAL really important?
   I'm reminded of my favorite part of Margery Williams' The Velveteen Rabbit when the two living rabbits invite the Velveteen Rabbit to dance. Here's the conversation that follows once they realize he won't dance because he can't; if you ever get a chance to hear Meryl Streep read it while George Winston plays the background piano music, do yourself a favor and grab your headphones:
"He doesn't smell right!" he exclaimed. "He isn't a rabbit at all! He isn't real!"
"I am Real!" said the little Rabbit. "I am Real! The Boy said so!" And he nearly began to cry.
     Just then there was a sound of footsteps, and the Boy ran past near them, and with a stamp of feet and a flash of white tails the two strange rabbits disappeared.
"Come back and play with me!" called the little Rabbit. "Oh, do come back! I know I am Real!"
     But there was no answer, only the little ants ran to and fro, and the bracken swayed gently where the two strangers had passed. The Velveteen Rabbit was all alone.
"Oh, dear!" he thought. "Why did they run away like that? Why couldn't they stop and talk to me?"
     For a long time he lay very still, watching the bracken, and hoping that they would come back. But they never returned, and presently the sun sank lower and the little white moths fluttered out, and the Boy came and carried him home.

     Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the Boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey, and his brown spots faded. He even began to lose his shape, and he scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn't mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn't matter.
    I just love that:  When you are REAL, shabbiness doesn't matter.  What are the other benefits to being REAL?  Could your work earn the REAL seal?  Could you?

7 comments:

  1. I love your post! The funny thing is, I was just thinking how refreshing it is to read your blog because you actually tell a story, make a point, inspire people. Too often I am seeing many blogs that have photos, contests, tutorials (which I do like sometimes), but there really isn't much content there. You are REAL :) I also just wanted to thank you for following me and entering my giveaway. Good luck and hope you enjoy reading my blog!
    Lori
    preschoolteacher81.blogspot.com

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  2. Thanks, Lori! I appreciate your candid feedback and your kind affirmation! I'm going to pass along your blogspot address to my preK teachers. YAY - another amazing resource!

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  3. Thank you for passing on my info, you are so sweet! :) I also wanted to ask you about something. I am doing a feature called Wishlist Wednesday where I am asking for guest bloggers to do a one-time guest post about something teacher/child related that is on your wishlist. I would really love to feature you on my blog as you are such a great writer! If you are interested, please let me know!
    Lori

    --
    preschoolteacher81.blogspot.com

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  4. Hey Lori ,

    I'd LOVE to be a guest blogger - thanks! Just let mek now when and I'll work up a piece. In the meantime, I guess the question I'm pondering is: What's on my wish list? Hmmmmmmmm . . .

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  5. Ok, You will be scheduled for Sept. 21 if that is ok with you. It might be easier if we communicate through e-mail, so here is my e-mail address: loriajones81@gmail.com. That is so cool that you have seen Kimberly Johnson speak too. I loved her!
    Lori
    Oh, and thanks for agreeing to guest blog!!! I am so excited to see what you have to say!

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  6. Barbara, I'd love to attempt to make you a blog button to show my gratitude. Let me know if you'd like one. We can work on the details.
    :)

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  7. YAY - what a kind offer. I'd love a button. I just left a comment on your page. You can email me if that's easier. W.o.W. - thanks!!!

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I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

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