Lessons from The Secret Garden

Next, we read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I enjoy the way the characters develop throughout the story as well as the descriptive imagery. We only watch the movies after we finish the books (and I chose the adaptation with Maggie Smith). I want my children to see the story in their own mind and have all the details before watching a movie.

One theme in this book that shines through the pages is how a “new thing” becomes accepted truth. This can be applied to trying new ways of doing something, technology, and even how we view ourselves. Everything that exists began with a single idea. Someone then put action behind the idea, testing, and experimenting, until a new thing came to be. “At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done—then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”

New thoughts can overpower old ones, creating a shift in both mind and body. While this can work in either direction, in this story, we watch the shift from “sick thoughts” to well ones. Your mindset affects all areas of life and health, including the physical. “One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts—just mere thoughts—are as powerful as electric batteries—as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live.”

When the children begin to see the changes they call it Magic. Frances Hodgson Burnett uses “Magic” in her writing to describe miracles and acts of kindness. She speaks of Magic the way I do about God’s power in my life. Believing in a Higher Power gives new strength to the believer. “Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of Magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us.”

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