Lessons we can learn from the creator of Peter Rabbit
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An artist, an environmentalist, and a very astute businesswoman: Beatrix would have been more at home in a modern laboratory than a Victorian drawing room. The 28th of July marked 153 years since the birth of one of the world’s best loved children’s writers. Her rebellious little rabbit in his blue coat has become one of the most iconic figures of children’s literature, and the franchise continues to grow with the release of new films and merchandise. The books themselves may educate children on the dangers of not listening to their mother or eating too much lettuce, however there is a great deal that adults can learn about life and how to live it from this extraordinary woman.
Image credit: Plum Skins via Flickr
Be brave. "We cannot stay home all our lives, we must present ourselves to the world and we must look upon it as an adventure." She challenged the expected path of a wealthy Victorian woman, and was not content with the idea of marriage and society life. Beatrix was inspired by nature and animals: her passion for her subject matter was intensified by her studies in art, literature, and science. She developed a deep interest in fungi and presented a paper to the Linnean Society, but because she was female and an amateur her theories were rejected. Never be afraid to try new things or follow your interests, and explore your own passions without waiting for the approval of others. Keep trying. The original Peter Rabbit books were rejected by six publishers before Beatrix decided to publish the books herself. An initial run of two hundred and fifity books proved so popular amongst Beatrix’s friends and family that Frederick Warne Publishing revised their initial rejection and took over the publishing of her future books. Today more that one million copies of the little books have been sold worldwide. Proof that perseverance, determination and self belief really do pay off. Be kind to animals and the environment. Beatrix’s ensured the conservation of Herdwick sheep and the protection of land in the Lake District from developers. Her independent wealth allowed her to on her death bequeath 15 farms and over 4,000 acres of land to the National Trust, so that future generations could enjoy their beauty. Beatrix was concerned about the impact that humans were having on the natural world long before the phrase ‘climate change’ had ever been thought of. Take responsibility for your impact on the natural world; find a cause and be passionate about it.
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