To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my top five favorite books of all time. And the other 4 aren’t required reading from high school, so don’t go jumping to conclusions about my level of intelligence.
This book spoke to me when I read it as a 15 year old, and it continues to speak to me as a 25 year old. As I’m currently reading the newly released/ controversial/ only other published work of Harpwr Lee, I thought I’d take a minute to address ten reasons I love To Kill a Mockingbird/ lessons Harper Lee taught me.
1. It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.
2. Don’t let people talk smack about your people if you aren’t willing to research what they’re talking about. Inadvertent lesson from the scandalous publishing of Go Set a Watchman. I had to read the book in order to defend Lee, Atticus, and this book I’ve read annually for 10 years.
3. You can’t understand a person until you walk a mile in their shoes. I need to slow down enough to acknowledge the gravity of any other person’s life. “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I know Harper didn’t say that but… It applies!
4. It’s alarming and upsetting and downright world shattering to become an adult and realize your parents are people too. Watchman is teaching me that one.
5. Atticus’ level of patience with Scout… Otherworldly. How much could the kids I work with benefit from an iota of that type of quiet strength? Things to strive for.
6. Scout and Jem. I won’t spoil Watchman. But their bond as portrayed in Mockingbird is such a real, transparent illustration of sibling love. You may go from playing to arguing, plotting together to hiding from one another in a tree house, but you’ll still fight for and protect one another.
7. Every man deserves justice.
8. Every man deserves equality.
9. The soul of a man is more than a social construct. It is an innate worth, visible to the likes of children.
10. Let’s focus on book 1: Atticus fights for what is right. He defends a man because he’s a man and because he’s been wronged.
Fight for what is right, what is true, what is good. Fight for people. Fight to acknowledge people. Fight to honor the souls of the people around you.
Honor each other.