Life-Changing Books to Read — How a Little Golden Book Changed My Life

How a Little Golden Book Changed My Life — Life-Changing Books to Read

See how a little golden book changed my life.  It became the catalyst for a life-changing moment.  Don’t believe me?  It’s a 4-minute read.

We don’t realize how simple facts can have such a monumental impact on our lives.  One of my all-time life-changing books to read was a 10-page book on Dinosaurs.  It turns out you can read things at an early age, which sets the stage for you to become a rebel and freethinker.  That’s me, alright.

Catalyst for a Life-Changing Moment

So here’s the story, I grew up in Denver, Colorado; my father came from a strict Catholic home, and my mother’s side of the family was Lutheran.  However, my parents were not religious.  We spent very little time in church services, perhaps half a dozen times a year, dividing our time between two churches.  One was a protestant church about three blocks away.  We also went to a Lutheran Church about eight blocks away.

We spent a lot of time in Sunday School or, rather, on the softball field; the protestant church pastor recruited my brother and me to play on their softball team.  So, our Sunday School was softball practice and softball games.  We played against teams from other local churches and won most of the time, thanks to our practice regiment.  The only time we were beaten consistently was by the all-girl team sponsored by Loretta Heights.  They were good.

I didn’t understand why we spent little time at my father’s grandparent’s home; later, I found out they excommunicated my father from the family for marrying a Lutheran.  Go figure.

I did not realize how lucky I was when I was growing up; I was not subject to religious indoctrination.  I could seek answers on my own.  I am not sure if nurturing a freethinker mindset was intentional.  I often wondered if they couldn’t decide which religion to choose, or perhaps they just never got around to it.  Or perhaps they saw the problems religious ideology causes.  We didn’t talk about it.  I wish I had asked more questions.  You never know where you will find life-changing books to read.  This simple book became the catalyst for a life-changing moment.

We lived close to my mother’s parents.  So, I spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s home.  There wasn’t any talk about religion.  My grandmother taught me to read, and one of my favorite books was a book entitled Dinosaurs.

I was fascinated by dinosaurs and thought their existence was an accepted truth.  It seemed reasonable to me that they lived long before man.

When I read this book, I had no idea how a little golden book changed my life in significant ways.  But I didn’t understand the full impact until I started school.  It set the stage for a life-changing moment.  This is a lesson.  Give children facts on which to build their worldview, not fiction.

When I was eight, my parents sent me to a Methodist parochial school.  The teachers dressed like Catholic nuns with black habits and cowls.  I am not sure why they chose this school.  Perhaps because it was Christian, but neither Catholic nor Lutheran.

Where to Find Life-Changing Books to Read

School is where many children find books that help open the door of their minds and imagination.  The library used to be a weekly or bi-weekly destination for many families.  The internet was supposed to make books more available.  However, this is only true if you want to purchase them.

So, the public library still provides a valuable resource.  You can browse and read books for free.  Although visitors are declining in many areas,  they still provide an opportunity for in-depth research that can’t be matched.

You used to find little golden books at the grocery store checkout.  It turns out this is where you can find life-changing books to read if you are five.

How A Little Golden Book Changed My Life

On my first day of school, the teachers brought all the new students to a sunny room overlooking a garden area.  The mood of the room was anything but cheerful.  The nuns began asking students questions about the Bible.  I was not familiar with this subject matter.

Then, they finally asked a question that sounded like something I could answer.  A nun asked who was the first to live on Earth.  I raised my hand enthusiastically, and they called on me.  My answer is, Dinosaurs were to live on the Earth!

Oops.  I could tell from the expression on the nun’s face that dinosaurs were not the response she sought.  The nun ignored my answer and called on another student who said, Adam and Eve.

A Life-Changing Moment

After this meeting, the nuns took me aside and questioned me about my Church and Sunday school attendance.  They wanted to know how much time I spent in Church and were most interested in our Sunday School curriculum.  I told them it was softball practice for the Chuch team.  I did offer to bring in the book on Dinosaurs so they could see how interesting it was.  The nuns told me not to bring any of my books to school.

To understand how a little golden book changed my life, you need to consider individual and social implications.  This experience not only changed the way I think but also changed how others perceive me.  I didn’t know it would become one of the life-changing books to read, which would put me on a collision course of religious prejudice.

After that, if I wanted to speak up in class, I would first talk to one of the nuns.  I could not speak in front of the class unless they knew what I would say.   So, I only spoke in front of the class about math problems or when asked to read.  Most of the curriculum was skill-based around reading, writing, and arithmetic.

The exception to our skill-based curriculum was one hour a day on religious studies.  These lessons were taught from books by the church leader, Alma White, which contained poems and short stories with underlying moral messages.

One of my teacher’s favorites was The Selfish Boy, who wants to pick a beautiful rose.  When he tried, bees stung him.  She loved to act out his reaction.   Another favorite story was about a little girl who learned that modern cities are like Sodom and Gemara.  They are all just waiting for an atomic bomb to explode.  In the early 1960s, people were afraid of an atomic bomb attack.  She seemed to relish in the horror of people’s pain; no wonder she chose a career teaching children.

a life-changing moment, life-changing books to read

We had six different grades in our room—Kindergarten through 5th grade.  I was seated at the front of the classroom with three other students.  I could tell we were the ones that didn’t fit in; we didn’t have the religious knowledge of other kids.  The nuns kept a close watch on us.

The other students caught on to the fact that we were unwelcome, persona non grata.  They followed the encouragement of the nuns.  Our group was ostracized and isolated.  We ate lunch at a table separate from the other students.  The nuns also monitored playtime.  They separated us when they saw us in conversation, telling us to play.

Foremost, my time at this school taught me to question anything from religion.  This book changed my thinking about the Church’s influence and helped me understand how powerful religious indoctrination still is.  They use fear and isolation to control and social pressure to mandate compliance.  You learn the message they teach, or else.

I realized the first day of school was a religious litmus test, and the questions were a purposeful interrogation.  They wanted to find out which students had undergone religious indoctrination and which had not.  That way, they could isolate those like myself that may be problematic.

Thankfully, I transferred to a public school the following year.  That is how a little golden book changed my life.  It taught me about religious bias and prejudice.  It changed the course of the story of my life.

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