As many of you know, I've been working on developing story ideas for an Oxherd Boy picture book. One of my first ideas was one on self acceptance. As I introduced in my last post, children are often subjected to comparisons and expectations of themselves that remove them from the present and project them into some future scenario that they might not have direct command of.
I wrote the story called, "The Race," to express the importance of allowing yourself to understand and accept who you are in any moment and recognize that there is much beauty to be found there.
As an initial exercise, I wrote out a (rather long-winded) story and created a number of illustrations to accompany it. You can listen and watch a video on YouTube, and a transcript of the full story is below.
One very hot morning, the Ox, the Boy, and the Rabbit sat together thinking of what to do.
“I have an idea,” said the Rabbit. “Do you remember that bridge we saw when we walked to the Great Falls?”
“I think so,” replied the Boy.
“It ran across a wide, lazy river, and I remember seeing a shady bank. We can go swimming there.”
“That sounds nice,” said the Ox, “but I’d rather not have to carry you there this time.”
The Rabbit bristled. “If I hadn’t gone by the road with you two, I wouldn’t have needed a ride at all,” she huffed. “I could have run through the brush and saved myself hours.”
“Oh, is that so?” chuckled the Ox. “Then let’s run a race, and we’ll see who gets there first today.”
“I’m ready if you are,” replied the Rabbit, getting up with a decided hop.
The Boy frowned at his friends. “I don’t think I will run today,” he declared. “I’m sure to be not only the slowest -- by a lot.”
“Oh,” said the Rabbit. She patted the Boy’s hand. “Don’t worry about it, we can just as well walk there together. Right, Ox?”
They looked at the Ox, where beads of sweat multiplied on his head under the strengthening sun. “Let’s race,” the Boy agreed with a little sigh. “It’s already so hot, let’s just get there before our dear friend melts.”
The Ox laughed and shook out his back. The Rabbit bounced on her hind legs. The Boy stood beside them.
“Ready,” said the Ox. They all crouched down. “Go!”
The Boy shot from the tree with all his might. He could feel his feet striking the ground as he thundered down the hill and across the field. As the dust settled, his friends were nowhere in sight. Though his heart pounded in his ears, he could still hear his thoughts.
“Where have they gone?” they wondered. “How can they already be so far ahead?”