Friday, 29 June 2012

Rule of Life - Finding a Pattern to Live By

Puffin Club Founder Members' Competition 1967

I've found it at last.    In 1967, I penned my list of rules 'to help some Puffins who had suddenly become "as clever as people" live wisely and happily,' I never guessed that 45 plus years later, I'd be chewing over my own 'rule' or 'way of life,' as a Franciscan tertiary. Those cheery little seabirds do have a habit of popping up for me, don't they? Would that I was so straightforward and uncomplicated now as I was at eight years old!  Here's what I wrote:

  • Puffins should not leave their babies alone.
  • Puffins should not fight at all.
  • Puffins should not leave their eggs to be eaten.
  • Puffins should be a little less shy.
  • Puffins should be very happy all the year.
  • Puffins should be as comical as they like. 
  • Puffins should be very sensible.  

Makes me smile, that last one; I was such a serious, conscientious little girl.   Yet, from a quick skim down the list, I can see that even then I'd an awareness of the areas where I needed to grow; a good rule of life challenges you to streeeetch yourself to the edges of your comfort zones, and shyness, negativity and anxiety are issues all too familiar to me even now. (Not sure about the eggs bit, though!).

I wonder where the other competition winners are now and whether  any element of their 'rules' still hold true for them  in later life? 


  1. I read this with a smile, but quickly felt very moved. I find myself honestly wishing I could live by your puffins' rules (with a little translation of course - especially about the eggs, and I'd have to work at the balance between being comical and sensible: wouldn't that be lovely?). So much simple wisdom gets complicated and forgotten as we "grow up". Thanks for sharing!

  2. You were a wise and serious little girl, Jane, just like Joyce Grenfell wrote. This is a marvellous list - if I were a Puffin I'd like to live on your Island...

  3. Thanks, both of you for your kind remarks. It is especially poignant, isn't it, to look back on your younger self and realise how much 'baggage' you've accumulated over life's journey. But as you say, Antonia, 'simple wisdom;' I guess it takes a child's simplicity to bring us back to the core of things. Mike, yes - it would be a great place to live, wouldn't it? Note that the original brief was to devise some rules for a colony of puffins; community - very Franciscan!


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