• Daniela Bonerba

How being silly helps us grow up

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Copyright for the illustration Daniele Catalli

Good morning from Paris, this is Daniela Bonerba, it is currently 10am. Starting now I would like to share with you topics to muse upon over a coffee. Today we will be speaking about “How being silly helps us grow up” With my two and a half year old, I don’t get much of a chance to spend a lot of time reading alone. So when last month I took a break I set my sights on a short classic. In the end it was a good idea because I savoured every word, wanting to make it last forever. The book was Pinocchio. I had forgotten a lot of the details of the story. I say "forgotten", but had I ever actually read the original? I had forgotten for example that the fairy starts off as a sister, then becomes a mother and finally a goat! I had also forgotten that Pinocchio kills the cricket right at the start, and that the little boy he later becomes will look at the inanimate puppet with surprise. Inanimate puppet, indeed, and it makes us uneasy to imagine it inert, silent, killed, to bring a child to life. The puppet Pinocchio is a rascal, but he is also generous and kind. In the end, he just needs rules and a mentor to learn. When I was a child, I hated Pinocchio, I was hard and I didn’t cut this child any slack. He does one silly thing after another! I couldn’t understand why illustrators and intellectuals loved him so much. I grasped the beauty of the idea, the story, but I could not see how we could love such a character. So you can understand that despite the shortness of the story, coming back to it was like climbing a mountain for me, and I loved it! What made me change my mind? I wondered. And then I realised. Over the years, I have become easier on myself, on others, and on the imperfect world around us. And I can see that Pinocchio is part of me, my daughter, my husband, my parents, my colleagues, everyone. That it is difficult to be wise, even when you are good, kind and generous. It’s taken me years to understand and accept this. I look at my daughter and I sense she is a rascal too: she does silly things and that's normal. All of us human beings are Pinocchios; we all need a mentor, a fairy (male or female) to help us grasp the imperfections of this world, which needs love and has room for improvement. Well, that’s all for today, I hope you have enjoyed this first episode of ‘sipping coffee & sharing ideas’. Write me with your thoughts! I love the idea, on my side, of taking a break to read you. Cheers! Daniela

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