Speech Inspiration from Your Favorite Childhood Book

  • SumoMe

The Little PrinceFind inspiration for your speeches from your favorite childhood books.  What significant, life-long lessons or quotes have endured into adulthood?  Let your childhood speak to you as you prepare speeches.

I think I was in third grade when I started reading the book, The Little Prince.   When I received the book as a gift, I printed my name inside the front.  Little Diane Williams was proud to own this book.

Little did I know that I would be quoting the book many years later in a speech.

The book is not your typical children’s book.  Looking at it now, it doesn’t seem to be a children’s book at all.  Written in 1943, by Antoine De Saint-Exupery, it is the most translated book in the French language

The narrator is a middle-aged man who has crashed his airplane in the Sahara desert  As he tries to fix his engine, a young boy, dressed like a prince, magically appears.

As it turns out, the little prince is actually from a tiny asteroid in the sky, which has only three volcanoes, some ordinary flowers, some Baobab tree seeds which must not be allowed to grow lest they destroy his little asteroid, and one solitary rose.

The Prince leaves his little planet in hopes of escaping from his annoying and demanding rose and in search of “better” things.  On earth, he happens upon a garden full of roses in bloom and is overcome with sadness, realizing that his rose, which he thought was unique in the universe, was in fact, a common rose.

To a passerby, his rose would look like all the others.

Later, with the help of a fox, he realizes that his rose is indeed special, because she is his rose, the rose he has watered, sheltered, and listened to when she grumbled. His love for his rose is what makes his rose important.

As the fox tells him, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

That quote has stuck with me for more than 40 years.  It has compelled me to look beyond the surface of situations and of people to find the heart truth.  It has inspired some of my speeches.

In one speech, about dealing with difficult people, I directly reference the book:

In the book, The Little Prince, one of the characters says:

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

I might change that to be:

“It is only with the heart that one can hear rightly; what is essential is inaudible to the ear.”

Listen from your heart and as you face conflict this year, and you will, try to look for the growth opportunity.  Every conflict, every difficult person, comes with a gift, if you look hard enough for it. 

Listen from your heart, bend your ear toward the whisperings of your favorite childhood books and be inspired!