The United States mourns the loss of Beverly Cleary, one of the most beloved children’s authors of all time. Mrs. Cleary left this land on March 25, 2021.
Beverly Cleary connected with children and helped them solve the problems of daily life in an easy-to-identify way that captivated generations of children. Some of his beloved characters include:
- Ralph S. Mouse, aka Ralph the Motorcycle Mouse
- Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy
- Socks the cat
According to the author’s official website, he based his characters and stories loosely on his personal experiences growing up in the small town of McMinnville, Oregon.
Although she is gone, the lessons we learned from Mrs. Cleary’s stories live in our hearts. Let’s take a look at some of Beverly Cleary’s most valuable last words of wisdom.
10 life lessons to learn from Beverly Cleary
Beverly Cleary’s wisdom gave many of us a good foundation: kindness, empathy, and a love of learning. We share some valuable conclusions along with corresponding quotes from Beverly Cleary that prove each claim.
“If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it down.” ~ Beverly Cleary
This advice echoes the famous “Be the change” quote from Mahatma Gandhi. Life is what you make of it. You have the power to shape your results in a very intimate way. Instead of complaining that things are not going your way, set a goal and take action.
In a very literal sense, this quote almost certainly inspired many authors to muster the courage to transfer the words that dance in their brains to paper.
2 – Reading is essential for lifelong learning.
“Children must learn that reading is a pleasure, not just something that teachers force you to do in school.” ~ Beverly Cleary
Children who enjoy reading are more likely to do better in school and develop better study habits than their peers who do not perceive reading as enjoyable. That is not just an opinion. The National Assessment of Educational Progress report agrees.
Year after year, the study agrees that reading is the fundamental foundation for developing good learning habits and determines whether a student enjoys academic success.
So how can you make reading more enjoyable for your little ones? Try these things:
- Take your child to the library to choose his own book.
- Read to your children from a young age.
- Cut out electronic devices, game systems, and television. Instead, set aside time to read.
- Be a reader yourself!
3 – You are your child’s first and most influential role model.
“Children want to do what adults do.” ~ Beverly Cleary
That opens up the next life lesson. We mentioned earlier that you need to be a reader to inspire your child to develop better reading habits.
This concept is important because your children are watching you … always. Even if you think they are participating in another activity, they still tune in to you from time to time.
When you develop a positive habitLike reading as a hobby, they will want to emulate that behavior.
However, you can also inadvertently influence your child to form negative behaviors, attitudes, or beliefs. For instance, University of Colombia cautions that children of people who use nicotine products are more likely to fight nicotine addiction when they grow up.
So always remember: your little eyes look and your ears listen. They want to do everything you do.
4 – Take some time “offline” to experience an authentic life.
“We didn’t have television in those days and a lot of people didn’t even have a radio. My mother would read aloud to my father and me at night. “~ Beverly Cleary
Beverly Cleary came into the world on April 12, 1916. Her childhood was very different from the world our children explore today.
In a broad context, this quote represents Cleary’s reflection on a simpler time, family bonding, and a cherished evening spent with her parents in a poignant and nostalgic memory.
But how does this relate to raising happy children in our fast-paced society?
“Unplug” your life. Free your loved ones from the stress of keeping up with your friends on social media and peer pressure online. Plan activities with your friends, family, neighbors, and the town. Let them experience their senses through the real world, not a virtual wasteland. You and your loved ones will grow from the opportunity to forge authentic connections.
5 – Develop empathy to grow your relationships
“What interests me is what children go through as they grow up.” ~ Beverly Cleary
Perhaps the reason we all loved reading one of Mrs. Cleary’s stories was that it seemed like she had written it just for us. Each individual learned to navigate life during our formative years with their guide every step of the way.
The remarkable empathy and care that Ms. Cleary used in shaping each story is evident when we look back.
Imagine how you could grow your own relationships if you applied the same empathy in your life! If you truly understand how another person perceives the world and understand their thoughts, you can build a stronger bond. So put yourself in someone else’s shoes and dig deep. Then see how your relationship with that person can flourish.
“Problem solving, and I don’t mean algebra, seems to be my life’s work. Maybe it’s everyone’s life’s work. “~ Beverly Cleary
Everyone needs to develop a way of solving the everyday problems that we encounter throughout life.
Each person has a unique set of circumstances and struggles. You never know what someone is going through. Some people may be caring for their sick parents while someone else has financial problems. Life will always throw curveballs. But you can regain your power over those unexpected (and sometimes unwanted) problems by learning to take them easy and solve them one by one.
Learn to build on their strengths and find a support system to help them when they need it. Because asking for help to solve a problem is definitely a good strategy too!
7 – Do not skimp on expenses by sharing love with other people.
“Love is not like a cup of sugar that runs out.” Quote from Ramona the Brave
When you love someone, you can find it Hard to express how deep love is for that person. This love can be romantic in nature or “agape” love for a friend or neighbor.
Every day you pour out your love for people, both big and small. Whether you are doing a friend a big favor asking to help you move through a state or a small act of kindness like sticking a sweet note in your partner’s lunch box, you show love through action.
But just because you do these things, you don’t run out of love! Continuing to show how much you treasure someone does not deplete the reserves of love in your heart.
So continue to be kind and caring to those around you, knowing that this emotion is immeasurable; spill a little and it will be replenished in your soul.
8 – People will misunderstand you sometimes.
“Nobody understood. He wanted to be good. Except when she tapped her heels on the bedroom wall, she’d always wanted to be nice. Why couldn’t people understand how he felt? “~ Quote from Ramona the plague
The above quote expresses Ramona’s feeling of frustration. She feels misunderstood and completely alone, so she complains about the injustice she feels at the time.
But the truth is that we all feel that way many times in life. It is up to each of us to control our emotions and rectify these situations. Only by dealing with these misunderstandings can we move from negative to positivity.
The key to doing this is through honest, open and clear communication. Don’t avoid those difficult discussions. Set some ground rules for a safe conversation, eliminate the misunderstanding, admit your fault, and move on.
9 – It is normal to change your mind.
“I wanted to be a dancer. I changed my mind. “~ Beverly Cleary
We all change our minds about things; is change it is a normal part of life. Some call it change, while others call it growth or progress. Regardless, feel free to evolve without worrying about being judged by other people. This path is yours to walk.
10 – Take some time for yourself.
“That was the problem with this house. A girl couldn’t even have a private phone conversation. “~ Quote from Fifteen
Mrs. Cleary wrote these sentences through the eyes of Jane Purdy, the teenager in her coming-of-age novel, Fifteen.
But doesn’t this still ring a bell to you today? It may seem like you can’t take ten minutes of your time to chat with a friend, take an extra long shower, or take an evening walk to enjoy the fresh air.
You need these moments of self-care both to physically distance you from the rigor of daily life and as a mental break to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
A study published by the National Institutes of Health agrees that people who embrace the concept of self-care enjoy a more positive life. So don’t apologize for it. Instead, explain to your loved ones that you should set a limit. Start taking care of yourself!
Beverly Cleary taught us life lessons that we carry with us today into adulthood. She helped us walk through childhood, and many of us are blessed to have children who are now learning the same things from this amazing author.