I cannot believe I did it again, I forgot to post about Anne Frank before her birthday, June 12. Anne was a wonderfully confused and caring girl, born in 1929 in Frankfort, Germany, who on her 13th birthday received a diary from her father. Her family emigrated to the Amsterdam in 1933, where they later became an important part of world history.
Had she lived, Anne would be 82 this year. If circumstances had been dramatically different, Anne might still be with us, enjoying life, visiting family and friends, traveling, and maybe writing and lecturing. In today’s world, she would not seem that old. Her very short life – she died at 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as the result of simply being Jewish – was not lived that long ago. The style of her red and white plaid diary is not really out-of-date, and thankfully, because of the words she placed on the pages of that journal, Anne and her story are still with us.
Anne’s youthful, simple, heartfelt thoughts have touched millions of people. Words can do that – the spoken ones, for better or for worst, the written ones for generations to see. They help writers understand their lives, explore their thoughts, the situations surrounding them, and the world.
What I meant to say on June 12, was I really think the value of words, including those of young children, can never be underestimated.
Perhaps this year, you can buy a journal for your daughter, son, niece, nephew, granddaughter, grandson, or the kid next door. Perhaps you can sit with them and tell them you value who they are and what they have to say. Perhaps, you can tell them about Anne, and the gift her father gave her.
The process of writing may change their lives, and the generations that exist with and follow them.
If you would like to read more about Anne, I’ve listed some links I found interesting:
Miep Gies, Mr. Frank’s office assistant and one of the brave people, who helped hide Anne’s family, died last January, she was 100. I really did not know much about Ms. Gies, this link shares a bit about her: I loved it.
Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, if, somehow, you’ve missed it.
Happy Belated Birthday, Anne, and thank you. Because of your words our world is richer, and I hope wiser.
PS. I shared a version of this post last year on my blog. My goal is to post about Anne every year around her birthday to honor her words, to share the practice of journaling and to encourage you to motivate children – of all ages – to begin putting their thoughts, desires and dreams on paper.
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