Sunday, 4 January 2015

My 2015 Goal - I Intend To Be Real

Life Lessons courtesy of one of my favorite characters!
As a child one of my favorite books was The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. Originally written as a serial between 1881-1883, Pinocchio tells the story of the wood carver who wanted a son and the marionette who wanted to be a human boy. I was fascinated with the idea that a marionette could become real and I rooted for Pinocchio to get out of the various scrapes he got himself into (that underdog mentality was strong in my second generation American family). Like so many children’s stories, Pinocchio offers life lessons; sometimes we didn't even know we were learning them at the time.

In the new year and while we are all busy figuring out if we are going to do a Genealogy Do-Over or Go-Over, or if we are independently thinking about our 2015 goals, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on what we can learn from Pinocchio and apply those lessons to our genealogy and real lives. [And please find the original story rather than rely on the Disney version - although I did enjoy Disney's Jiminy Cricket.

  • Tell the truth – ah the nose that grows. Every time Pinocchio lied his nose grew. How I wish this happened in real life; we could tell who the liars were and what lies were being told. Sometimes we allow people to lie to us (we have that gut feeling, we know better, or we can’t believe the person would lie to us) and sometimes people are really good liars because they have no moral compass. In either case, when the liar is caught out trust is lost. Whether that trust can ever be regained depends on the nature and quality of the lie. The easiest thing is simply to tell the truth. 
Image courtesy of ID-10031579
  •  Be brave, honest and generous - there is always a good fairy in these stories (that magical creature who provides the lesson and watches over the protagonist). In Pinocchio the turquoise-haired Fairy explains just what Pinocchio has to do if he wants to be a real boy. If you want to be the best person you can be, pay attention to your actions rather than just saying the words – you need to be brave, honest and generous.
Image courtesy of ID-100260549
  • Be dependable and considerate Pinocchio got into scrapes because he was lazy, irresponsible, did not want to be told what to do, was looking for the quick and easy way, and was greedy. At any given moment that could be each of us, at least in little ways. He thought he made friends only to find out they were in it for themselves and using him (do you know any foxes, cats or donkeys?). Pinocchio survived his scrapes and found out what and who were important, and he became a responsible and considerate son. He stepped up to the plate when Geppetto was ill and took care of him. Remind yourself what and who is important in your life and act accordingly. 
Image courtesy of ID-10029983
  •  Be the best you Pinocchio become a real boy when he was kind, unselfish and thought about others (Geppetto and the turquoise-haired Fairy). Being real (or authentic) means knowing who you are and striving to be the best person you can be. This often means putting others’ needs ahead of your own desires, showing compassion and being kind. We can all get ahead in this life, but we don’t need to do it by stepping on others or using them. Do you know who you are and is that someone you are proud of? Take those necessary steps to be the best you each and every day.
Image courtesy of ID-100221658

Bottom line Pinocchio is all about the difficulties of growing up, accepting responsibility for our behavior, understanding the necessity of being honest, and the importance of making things right when we have been at fault or harmed someone. Since 2015 is going to be my best year ever, I intend to be real – how about you?


  1. You are spot on with this post Tessa. Success is only true success when you have achieved your goal without standing on other people to get there. Recognising truth, honesty and integrity are all important and not to mention our internal moral compass. It is horrifying that there are people out there who apparently lack all or some of those things.

  2. Just reading the Waterstones (UK bookseller) blog & spotted this -'s%20book%20of%20the%20month&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=january2015twitter

    1. Thanks for the link - there have been several lovely illustrated books through the years of this classic. How fun to see another (though a puppet is not quite the same as a marionette and I wish updaters would stay true to that). It is a classic for a reason - lots of action, adventure and life lessons!

  3. Ya just cannot go wrong if you take the high road. My daddy taught me that. He was right! It is not always easy, but, boy, I sure sleep well at night!

    Great post Tessa.

    1. This is one of things that is either ingrained in you or not Carol. And I do believe that good parents and a "spiritual" upbringing (something bigger that yourself - and there are many flavors) are two things each of us needs in our corner as we grow up. And boy do I agree that it is not always easy way to "take the high road" or "be the bigger person" - but it is the right way. Looking forward to following your adventures in 2015 Carol.

  4. Thank YOU for that! I love keeping it real! There's no other way in this line of work. Your Ancestors will hold you accountable. For me it's a Spiritual Component to all this work. I definitively plan on keep doing what I do. With the Truth. My Integrity and Conviction is on the line. I won't play around with that. My blog is very Personal. So I can attest to this.


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World Wide Genealogy Team