LESSONS ON OVERCOMING HARDSHIP FROM PETE THE CAT by Linda Tang
My daughter brought home a book entitled Pete, the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, by Eric Litwin. I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable with most of the picture books out there, but this one I had missed and am grateful that my daughter didn’t.
The story begins with the main character Pete, a four-legged feline, who, when out walking, experiences a few misfortunes that alter the appearance of his white sneakers. Depending on one’s outlook, this could be considered a huge disappointment or a minor inconvenience. After each mishap, the author lets us know that Pete chooses “to keep walking along and singing his song. “
I don’t know about you, but I have to work hard at not getting rattled when events occur that I hadn’t anticipated. Through whatever means each of us resorts to when they do, be it prayer, positive thinking, a trip to the therapist’s office, yoga class or maybe an encouraging pep talk from a supportive friend, it’s probably fair to say that we do our best to stay focused and not allow setbacks to derail us from moving ahead. (It is after all, one of the bitter-sweet themes we witnessed in these Summer Games from some of the Olympic athletes in their moments of defeat.) Perseverance, ambition and dedication are traits that, those of us who are parents, most likely have topping the “characteristics-we-want-our-children-to-have” list.
Not only does the theme of moving forward take its place in Pete’s response but so does the meaning of remaining faithful to one’s character. After each event that alters Pete’s white shoes, Pete not only keeps walking along but keeps singing his song. Another wonderful lesson: despite the challenge, stay true to who you are.
So thank you, Mr. Litwin, for illustrating such important principles through this beloved fury friend. We all hear and know these truths, but sometimes we encounter seasons in our lives where our spirits are low and motivation tanks are running on empty. We question whether to push forward when stopping to have a tantrum is what feels most natural. Sometimes, we just need a Pete to remind us that in the face of interruptions, obstacles or disappointments, we need to keep walking along and singing our song. Maybe even at the top of our lungs.