Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horse and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again
Most of us are familiar with this old nursery rhyme, but I’m not sure if everyone knows what happened to Humpty Dumpty after he fell. The rhyme would have us believe that it was a wrap for ol’ Humpty since he couldn’t be put back together – a pretty sad ending for the little egg! However, let’s fast forward to author Dan Santat’s release of an earth-shattering (no pun intended) children’s book, After the Fall, that continues Humpty’s story with a lesson in resilience.
After the Fall is a must-read for all parents attempting to teach children about what it means to fall down, learn from mistakes, and rise again – skills so necessary as they make their way into the world. In this book, the King’s Horses and Kings Men actually were able to put Humpty together again but only on the surface. Santat takes complex emotions like sadness, fear, and anxiety and simplifies them for young readers. He shows them how these feelings keep Humpty from enjoying some of his favorite things. This poor egg walked by his favorite wall so many times, missing his spot on top and regretting that fateful fall. But then he had an idea…
He was passionate and driven towards his goal. Despite the tremendous fear he felt in climbing the wall, he kept going.
What comes next is a short journey through self-discovery, mixed with innovative thinking, and of course, resilience. Humpty decided enough was enough. He wasn’t going to let anything get in his way of sitting on top of that wall. Even after a failed attempt with a paper airplane, Humpty didn’t give up. He was passionate and driven towards his goal. Despite the tremendous fear he felt in climbing the wall, he kept going. You’ll find yourself holding your breath a bit as you wish him up to the top of that ladder. And then…he makes it and sets himself free.
Even though we might want to, we won’t be able to protect our children from everything. What we can do is teach them life skills now to handle the tough stuff later on. Mistakes happen, failure is inevitable, obstacles spring up – this is life. Humpty’s lesson in resilience teaches children that it’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to fall but it’s what you do after that matters most.