Dear Sebastian: Reclaiming the Power of Metaphor by Bianca Tora

Dear Sebastian: Reclaiming the Power of Metaphor
Bianca Tora
Outskirts Press (2008)
ISBN 9781432725877
Reviewed by Danelle Drake for Reader Views (12/08)


Working in a public elementary school and seeing firsthand the impact disruptive behavior can have on a child, I was moved by the loved displayed in “Dear Sebastian: Reclaiming the Power of Metaphor.”  I could only hope that more children would have this love and enlightenment on their side as Sebastian does.  In a busy world where parents are faced with so many stresses they tend to drop their children off at the school door and let the staff take it from there.  Yes, the children are loved and educated within the walls, but when problems surface parents often do not look beyond what they initially see.  The easiest conclusion is most often the one that is chosen.  A phrase I hear way too often is “Why can’t you just behave?  I am busy and had to leave my job to come over and deal with you.” when the phrase should be, “I love you, let’s see what we can do.”  Different is not necessarily wrong and 100% of children do not learn in the exact same way.  “Dear Sebastian: Reclaiming the Power of Metaphor” gives up hope and the realization that we have within us the tools and ability for change.

Sebastian was “that” child, the child that did not go with the flow as the others did.  He did not enter the school building and have that fun, activity-filled day where he soaked in knowledge and made friends and memories his family would joyfully add to his childhood scrapbook.  He was disruptive, angry and unable to follow routine.  In this beautiful series of letters written for the adult Sebastian, we follow the journey he and his family took through the power of thought, self-management followed by self-transformation.  I am in awe of this remarkable journey.  Bianca Tora writes of her much-loved grandson, “ I did not know then that he had given me the most important lesson I would ever learn – that fear is the greatest friend we can have; it weakens us so we can be strong; it stretches us so we can be flexible; it empties us so we can be full.”

With many tear-stained pages, I close “Dear Sebastian: Reclaiming the Power of Metaphor” by Bianca Tora and think about the beautiful and fulfilling lives so many children could have if only their loved-ones would take the time to think.  Outside the box is most often the best place.  Through this most difficult transformation we are shown that each child has the power to overcome – if only the opportunity to do so.  The next time I encounter “that” child, I will recommend his/her parents read this loving gift and quote them the most moving phrase I have ever read:

“You descended upon us like an angel of wrath,
but you showed us a different kind of peace,
taking us beyond the known to the root of knowing –
the unknowable mystery that lies in the heart”

Thank you Bianca, for not only loving Sebastian, but for questioning the norm, and moving so far beyond!

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