The Cookbook

In M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water, one of the main characters learns that his book, which he titles The Cookbook, is destined to inspire a future “great leader.”

A future-seeing sea nymph tells him, “A boy in the Midwest of this land will grow up in a home where your book will be on the shelf and spoken of often. He will grow up with these ideas in his head. He will grow into a great orator. He will speak and his words will be heard throughout this land and throughout the world. This boy will become leader of this country and begin a movement of great change. He will speak of you and your words. Your book will be the seeds of many of his great thoughts. It will be the seeds of change.”

When I wrote my first book, I wrote it to inspire (and maybe even scare) parents into reevaluating how their children were being educated. I spent weeks on many revisions of the first chapter, which tells the story of a kindergartener named Joanne. Joanne has a passion for art, but her creativity is confined to a traditional classroom.

I wanted it to be a book that made a dent in changing the way the world looked at education, and I am gratified to know that it did change the way many parents chose to educate their children. I’m still proud of that to this day.

I believe that creators have a universal desire to bring about change through our art, our creativity, and our uniqueness, but are too often hesitant, questioning, “What is the vessel?” And once we’ve made our mark, wondering whether there can be more than one in our lifetime?

Maybe our personal version of The Cookbook is a book, or maybe it’s a Ted Talk, a blog, or a movement we’ve ignited. What if our cookbook could be the teaching job that’s given us the opportunity to have an impact on the lives of thousands of children over the years?

Maybe it isn’t art, but something we’ve, quite literally, given birth to.