Friday, April 15, 2016

The Babysitter’s Club #1 | Why I Loved Kristy’s Great Idea

"Kristy thinks the Baby-sitters Club is a great idea.  She and her friends Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Ann all love taking care of kids.  A club will give them the chance to have lots of fun–and make tones of money.
But nobody counted on crank calls, uncontrollable two-year-olds, wild pets, and parents who don't always tell the truth.  And then there's Stacey, who's acting more and more mysterious.  Having a baby-sitters club isn't easy, but Kristy and her friends aren't giving up until they get it right!"
So let’s go ahead and get any “gender specific” matters straight.  Okay?  Great!  So as a pre-teen, I read the hell out of The Baby-Sitters Club series.  And, trust me, I could get away with it freely.  Nobody had any reason to think twice about me, as a guy, reading these books.  So from that small bit of perspective, I’ve always wanted to write posts on Ann M. Martin's series of pre-teen books.  Or, the years I discovered the joy of escapism through various book series during my own pre-teen years.  And just to push a little bit further into my reading past, I recently learned a kid in daycare bit me on the forehead over a book.  I'm sure it was a book I refused to give up, or the bite must have been worth it.  I also learned my daycare teacher used to report how I would always enter the room, grab a book, and settle in for the day.  At least on that count, nothing has changed.
Nice to know books have always been there for me.  Especially when all along I thought my reading bug struck around 6th grade.

Nonetheless, 6th grade saw a total transformation in my reading habits.  (It's where my taste for mysteries blossomed.)  And for good reason when you consider, like for many kids, middle school takes hell to get through.  So for the sake of keeping my composure in this post–instead of expounding the ugly details–reading kept me grounded during the ceremony of surviving ages 11-14.  And I read pieces of everything–much like today.
We didn't go to the same school as kids, but I discovered The Baby-Sitters Club through my childhood best friend.  She had a stack of them, alongside a pile of American Girl books.  The good boy in me was a little concern, but tempted back then on how she'd gotten so many of the books.  Why?  Because I probably wouldn’t have gotten away with slipping the books out of the school library like her.  Even though I was a sneaky-ass thief in less industrial ways.  
Nevertheless, when she handed me her copy of The Baby-Sitters Club #1: Kristy's Great Idea, I treasured the discovery.  I had something new to read!  As she proceeded to give me her remaining (ahem, stolen) books in the series, I gladly took them.  Suddenly I was collecting, reading, and re-reading my growing stack of Baby-Sitters Club books.  The added benefit was it was a series of books.  So the stories kept going on. 
Now I’ll feature more Baby-Sitters Club books in later posts.  It's just for now I wanted to talk about one reason why I believe the books spoke to me–despite finding hardly any identification with the cast.  And it’s really, really quite simple: THEY WERE ENTREPRENEURS!
Yep.  That’s it.  The girls had their own business, which is exactly what drew me to keep reading the series.  It was a business led (of course by Kristy) and organized with each member holding a different responsibility.  Responsibilities handed to them with recognition of their individual and special strengths.  All necessary in keeping their business flow organized and operating as a system.  So as an idealistic child, their vision resonated with my need to better cultivate my own.  A vision I pursed previous to my falling into the series.  Whether I was making my own comic books to sell to classmates, or walking door-to-door offering labor for a couple of dollars to buy something.  I had that same go-get-it energy inside of myself.  I only envied their bond and support system.  Which is something I personally still feel I suffer from lack of.  
Still, ever since I was a kid I’ve always gravitated to the entrepreneur mind-set.  So I vicariously–and voraciously–participated with The Baby-Sitters Club members.  Though I don’t think baby-sitting was ever my realm of business.
Outside the entrepreneur appeal, I wouldn't have enjoyed the books without liking the girls carrying the series.  Each of them are memorable, but my personal favorite has always been Dawn.  She's the girl I would say I related to the most.  But since she’s not introduced in this first book, I’ll definitely get to her later.  Only with each of the girls one by one as I continue forth with a series of posts featuring my collection of the books.  
Nevertheless, to this day, and forever more clear to me now; Kristy’s Great Idea leaves me with the impression of how life-gratifying it is to have had an opportunity to be a part of something.  Something where your talents and abilities are appreciated, within a supportive system of like-minded friends with ideas.  Especially ideas about making some good ole money!

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