The World is not fair

Joschi finds a garden as beautiful as the one he dreamed of. He clears and digs, he sows colorful flowers and radishes, he builds a hut and a hearth for cooking and is happy.

But the idyll is deceptive. In the end, Joschi’s garden has to give way to the big construction company and Joschi has to give it up again. No happy ending, but many learnings.

“Joschis Garten” by the children’s book author Ursula Wölfel was my favourite book in childhood. The 1st edition, published in 1965 by HOCH-Verlag, Düsseldorf, actually still has a place of honour in our library at home.

Recently I picked it up again and read it. I wanted to understand why it had grown so close to my heart at the time. What do I discover in my memoirs? A suggestion that I took away from Julia Cameron’s book “It’s never too late to begin again”, and out of the workshop with Thomas Oetzmann and his concept of a life carpet.

The title is a bit deceptive. It’s not so much about the actual gardening. I don’t like gardening at all. In my parents’ house we had a very large garden and I had a lot of tasks to do in it. Weeding, picking up stones, mowing the lawn and the like. But not to create something of my own. A corner that belonged only to me alone and for which I was allowed to be solely responsible. That was my dream and therein lies the connection to the book.

Today I realize that for me it was about the topics of self-determination and independence. And these are characteristics that are still important to me today – or let’s say: again. And that’s exactly what Joschi does in the book. He builds his own world right into the adult empire of the 60s.

In the obituary for the author, Tilman Spreckelsen mentions on 26.07.2014 in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, that Ursula Wölfel’s heroes are very often children who run against walls or have to struggle with the ignorance of adults who have no understanding of the laws of the worldview of their kids.

In the end, Joschi has to recognize and accept his limits. And especially for me with my intrinsically pronounced sense of justice, one insight is essential:

➡ The world is not fair.

And I noticed that as a child, already, in my favourite book.

Thanks to Aldona Giesbrecht for her wonderful and slightly different book recommendation, also from her childhood days, Anne of Green Gables. It was recently published on LinkedIn and inspired me to this post.

Related Topics