Tuck Everlasting moved me in a profound way, that not many pieces of art can do. Both the book and the film are excellently delivered and worthy of merit. The film is richly beautiful in every sense (don't be fooled by the official trailer - which makes it look quite naff). The acting is stunning and the cinematography is wonderful. The book is excellently written, it has a really lovely lilt and quaint feel to it. The story of the Tucks addresses so many important questions and it is incredibly meaningful and moving.
There are so many touching messages that can be learnt from this story.
Below are seven key messages I discovered (beware spoilers)
1. Don't be afraid to go past your fence - 'Closing the gate on her oldest fears as she had closed the gate of her own fenced yard, she discovered the wings she'd always wished she had.' When we step outside our comfort zone and do the things we're afraid of we feel empowerment and grow. If we stay rooted to the spot we'll wither away to nothingness. We need the light of the unexplored to help us bloom. Like Winnie if we learn to go beyond our fences we can discover beautiful adventures and learn more about ourselves. It is up to us to make the first step. I feel that this lesson resonates strongly today. Due to the pandemic fear has swept into our hearts, we are afraid to do anything that might be too risky. Where there is much to be said for being careful, there is a higher price to pay if we never take any risks, an unlived life. So find a way to balance being responsible with being brave and trying new things. Expand your horizons, nourish your soul and push past your fear.
2. Learn to slow down and play - 'The tucks lived in a way the rest of the world had forgotten. They were never in a hurry and did things the slow way. For the first time Winnie felt free to explore, to ask questions, to play.'
We often forget in our busy world the beauty of slowing down, living more mindfully, the pleasure of playing and wondering about things. These things are often bypassed when we have work, commitments and chores to attend to, but they are essential in order to create feelings of well-being and peace. Some of us we may have more time on our hands nowadays and some of us may have less. Whatever the case may be try to find a pocket of time where you can slow down and enjoy something for just a second or two more, linger on that beautiful meal, stop and literally smell the roses when you pass them (A rule I try to keep, inspired by Robin Sharma, is that whenever I pass roses I have to pause, because it is a moment that is worth savouring) listen even more intently to your loved ones and think of questions that could help you connect more. The extra moments we take to savour life are what will make our lives richer and more blissful. We of course can't always go slowly, like the tucks, as our time is not limitless, but we can learn to find a balance. We can try to be more mindful and take extra time to enjoy what we already love.
3. Get to know people fully before you trust them - Winnie often acts naively throughout this story. She immediately trusts the antagonist, 'The man in the yellow suit' despite the fact he's a stranger. She informs the man of her father's ownership of the woods and she kisses Jesse, before she knows the truth about either of them. Winnie is hence distressed when her actions unfold and she learns the truth. Being sceptical of people is not a bad thing. Yes we should give people the benefit of the doubt and always be kind, but we shouldn't blindly trust people who we don't fully know. If we feel that there is something amiss, or secretive, it is wiser for us to be careful and interact with caution. Whilst we may not be as naive as young Winnie there are times where it can be useful to take precautions, be it in romance, friendships, or in business. It can cause unnecessary pain to get entangled and attached to people who are not what they seem. It is beneficial to take care when trusting people. Trust can be given in a second but it is best built over time.
4. Some secrets are worth protecting - In the film the Tucks protect the secret to immortality with their lives.They guard it from 'The man in the yellow suit' who is symbolic of many people who would misuse the secret. They understand that the secret shouldn't be shared with everyone. Jesse however confides in Winnie and tells her the truth, she is the first human he wants to tell, because he has learnt to trust her. He knows she is worthy of learning the secret because of her upstanding character. We need to be cautious when it comes to secrets and revealing ourselves fully to people. Not everyone is worthy of learning your secrets. Sometimes it is worth sacrifice in the pursuit of keeping a secret. We should learn to discern who in our lives can hold our secrets and who we need to be more guarded with. With the internet especially nowadays it makes it easy to accidentally reveal too much. It is worthwhile to be more vigilant and realise that not everyone can keep your secrets. But when you find someone worthy of keeping a secret, that is a rare and precious gift.
5. It is not worth sacrificing everything for love - Many a deed has been done in the name of love. Good, bad, monumental, inconsequential....There are so many things we would do for love, but we shouldn't do absolutely anything for it. Sometimes the price is too high. Jesse would die to spend one more night with Winnie, he would sacrifice living forever to live fully with Winnie for a moment. But Winnie would not give up her life to live forever with Jesse. The price was too high. Love is a beautiful treasure but it is not worth every sacrifice. Where we draw the line is ultimately up to us. Yes there are many things worth sacrificing for love, but our morals, our souls and our lives shouldn't be the cost.
6. Look after the world we live in - 'The ownership of land is an odd thing when you come to think of it. How deep, after all, can it go' Some people are fortunate to own property, but the Earth that we live on can never fully be ours, as we are impermanent. The Earth however could be here forever if we treat it right. It is our moral duty to look after our planet. There are so many beautiful natural wonders in the world that are worth safe guarding. In 'Tuck Everlasting' they protect the spring of immortality from people who wish to harm it, so too should we try to protect this Earth and be mindful of the ground on which we tread.
7. Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. - Find the balance between doing what makes you feel alive and being responsible. Winnie's joy, running through the fields and playing in the woods with the Tucks is directly contrasted to her parents turmoil over her whereabouts. To live fully is important, we need to find what makes us feel alive and make sure we incorporate it into our lives. But if we only ever did what made us feel alive it wouldn't be right, because we would be avoiding our responsibilities. We can't always be doing what we wish, but there is honour to that. We have a moral obligation to our loved ones and ourselves to sometimes do things that may not make us feel alive. It may not feel glamorous, or fun to always do what is right, sometimes it is the harder choice, but like Winnie we should choose to find the balance between taking care of our responsibilities, being true to ourselves and living fully even if sometimes is means we have to make sacrifices.
No matter what the journey of life brings you make it one of your own choosing. Don't hide away, take up space in this world, do something useful, live fully and have integrity. (paraphrased quote by Natalie Babbitt)
Naomi Leila Xx
P.s. What makes you feel alive? Please leave a comment in the section below.
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