In the digital age, books have taken a backseat to electronic media. Yet, it wasn’t that long ago when books were the most influential tools of the culture. My first life-changing book for personal growth was a little golden book on dinosaurs. Join me on my journey of self-discovery as I share the unexpected life-altering lessons I gleaned from an unlikely source.
We don’t realize how simple facts can have such a monumental impact on our lives. It’s one of my all-time life-altering books, just ten pages. 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.
Engaging Dinosaur Book for Kids
Remember when sciences like archeology and paleontology were seen as honorable undertakings? The book on Dinosaurs reminds me of the power of science and its ability to shape critical thinking.
So here’s the story. I grew up in Denver, Colorado; my father came from a strict Catholic home. But, my mother’s side of the family was Lutheran. However, my parents were not religious. We didn’t go to church service that often. We divided 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. You see, 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. This was due to our weekly practice regiment. The only time we were beaten was by the all-girl team sponsored by Loretta Heights. They were good.
I didn’t understand why we spent so little time at my father’s grandparent’s home. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I found out my father was excommunicated for marrying my mother, a Lutheran. Go figure.
Life-Altering Books for Personal Growth
I did not realize how lucky I was when I was growing up because I was not subject to religious indoctrination. Nor did I have to deal with issues young people have today. They have public schools banning books and practicing active shooter drills.
I am unsure if nurturing a freethinker mindset was intentional on the part of my parents. I often wondered if they couldn’t decide which religion to choose, or perhaps they just never got around to it. Or maybe they saw the problems religious ideology causes. We didn’t talk about it. I wish I had asked more questions.
Anyway, 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 Dinosaurs. I didn’t realize at the time it was a life-changing book for personal growth.
I always had a profound thirst for knowledge, and the book about dinosaurs served as a gateway that led me to question things. What happened to the dinosaurs? It was here that I absorbed lessons that molded my perception of reality and ignited an insatiable curiosity.
I thought the existence of dinosaurs was a widely accepted truth. Their fossils were proof they were here. I understood they carbon-dated dinosaur bones long before before man.
When I read this book, I had no idea how this 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.
Nunns Versus a Little Golden Book on Dinosaurs
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.
On my first day of school, the teachers brought all the new students to a sunny room overlooking a garden. 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. I answered, “Dinosaurs were the first to live on the Earth!”
Oops. I could tell from the expression on the nun’s face this wasn’t the response she sought. The nun ignored my answer and called on another student who said, Adam and Eve.
So, it was apparent my understanding of history clashed with religious mythology and superstition. It astounded me that they could dismiss the scientific evidence presented by experts. The nunns didn’t realize it, but they had lost. Their reaction sparked my journey to challenge the deeply ingrained beliefs that dominated my world. The book about dinosaurs provided me with a fragment of the evidence that enabled me to separate fact from fiction. It all started with a little golden book on dinosaurs.
My First Life-Changing Book For Personal Growth
After this initial 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 must consider the 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 the first life-changing book for personal growth. It put me on a collision course of religious bias and 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. Most of them were 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.
There were 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.
Little Golden Books About Prehistoric Creatures
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.
Nevertheless, the most popular subject among the outcasts was dinosaurs. We even snuck in books and plastic dinosaurs to show each other.
Life Lessons and the Battle of Nunns Versus Dinosaurs
I revisit the life-changing experience of my early years, only to see that things haven’t changed that much. I hope that children will still be able to use books like The Little Golden Books about prehistoric creatures to open their minds.
Within these dusty pages laid the transformative power of personal growth. The book about dinosaurs gifted me with invaluable life-long lessons:
1. Embrace curiosity. The insatiable thirst for knowledge should be nurtured, allowing us to question and discover the truth.
2. Challenge beliefs! It is essential to question religious mythology and superstition. Weigh everything against scientific evidence to shape a well-rounded perspective.
4. Learn to be adaptable and resilient. Dinosaurs, a symbol of ancient strength, taught me to adapt to the ever-changing world and face challenges head-on.
Foremost, my time at this school taught me to question anything from religion. My experience changed my thinking about the influence of religion. It 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 became my first life-changing book for personal growth. It taught me about religious bias and prejudice. It changed the course of the story of my life.
Nuns versus dinosaurs became more than a clash of beliefs. It became a metaphor for the battle between science and religion. We must be outspoken in our support of scientific facts. And we must openly question myths and superstitions. The key is being adaptable and prudent. A simple, engaging dinosaur book for kids can be a catalyst for developing an open mind.