This year, Anne Frank would have turned 90 years-old, and on May 18th, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will be hosting an “Anne Frank Tour” to commemorate her birthday and reflect on her brief, but powerful life. Check out details on the event here.
I first read “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” as an adult. For some reason, growing up, I did not read it in school or otherwise. When I finally picked it up, I was sorry that I had not. The book is compelling and emotional, and I can see how I would have related to many of Ms. Frank’s changing thoughts and emotions on life when I was an adolescent (even though I lived far outside of a warzone and was not subject to persecution).
Nonetheless, there are several lessons and reminders that I took away from Ms. Frank as an adult that I believe are worth reflecting on as her birthday approaches:
- Reflect on and appreciate the small things in life. In the Diary, Ms. Frank recounts the joy of tasting a delicious type of food that she had not tasted in some time, writing on fresh paper, and enjoying occasional privacy. These “simple joys” are ones that I all too often forget as I rush through everyday life, seeking to meet deadlines or other commitments.
- Be kind and appreciate those around you. Ms. Frank lived in a small living space with family and others. Given the tight space and restrictions on noise, she noted when a particular housemate (such as her mother or sister) were less than kind to her. Similarly, she took particular note when others (such as her father) gave her attention and took time to speak with her as an adult. The amount that Ms. Frank processed on other’s behaviors is a reminder to me that those around us (even those we may only briefly interact with), can be profoundly impacted by our actions.
- Exercise courage and stand up for your convictions. Ms. Frank was only 15 when she died. Unfairly, because of her religious beliefs and where she lived, she was targeted and could not survive despite her family’s efforts. Nonetheless, through her writing, she expressed support for the Allies and wrote extensively on freedom and resilience. Her ability to “look ahead” despite extremely challenging times is a reminder to me that I can make an impact and potentially change a situation even when it seems “impossible.”
I plan to revisit the Diary again this year as a tribute to Ms. Frank. Feel free to reach out to me on your thoughts on the book, the Holocaust Museum, or Washington, D.C.
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