The public library is my 2nd home, always has been, even as a child growing up in Brooklyn. I realize the internet has taken its place in the hearts and minds of many individuals, but it’s still so nice to enter a library. I love seeing people in the library sitting at the computers, browsing the shelves, lining up by the Reference Desk for inquiries. I love to see that…but it’s rare. Our libraries are underused by generations growing up where information is a click away. When my daughter was 3, she proudly walked into our library like a little prize fighter and asked for a library card. She got it since she could write her first and last name. The library was a special place that I frequented with my own 2 children; scheduled trips to with my students and visited several times a week as a teacher to pore over books and select just the right ones for my students. Now I research books that I think my nearly 90 year old mom will like, order them through the library and just pick them up when they arrive. My mom was a reader and as a child I was a voracious reader and so was my daughter. Educators, psychologists, researchers have written that if parents model reading, their children will read. Really? My son didn’t like to read OR write, so I read to him and I also asked him questions and he dictated his answers for me to write down. I have such lovely memories when we would lie down and share books, I would read, he would read. He didn’t really become a reader until he was close to finishing his B.A. in of all things: ENGLISH!!!! Then he immediately went onto an MA in Teaching Adolescents English Language Arts, so you never know the direction your children will take. The fact that mom was a teacher and a guidance counselor and I was a teacher made us very proud my son was following in our footsteps. Now he reads a lot, probably on his ipad. He left NYC teaching to teach in India and loves it.
The public library is an important resource in every community and I just wish more people would frequent it. Just go in, read the daily newspapers, say good morning to the people working behind the Circulation Desk, show your appreciation that there IS a library in your community.
“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” –Neil Postman
I have never given advice on raising children; too flawed to do that; and I’m not one of those know-it-alls who pass on advice like passing the salt. Even when I’ve been complemented on my children and how they’ve been raised, I have always said it was the luck of the draw; you can be the best parent in the world and have children that have many problems; or you can be the worst parent and somehow your kids triumph. The reality is, we never know how our children will turn out…we do the best we can, we hope for the best, but what will be, will be.
This morning, I read a lovely post on a blog that is following me and vice-versa, by a “fellow” baby boomer, My Life in My 60s. Her most recent posting concerned raising children, listening to children and how the busyness of today’s lifestyles requires parents to truly make sure they are making time to listen to their children. I responded to her immediately that I learned from my husband to “just listen.” Sounds so easy, right? I also responded that asking a lot of questions might be inherited on my part, a learned behavior or might be a cultural thing that I have had to overcome; I’m really not sure. What I do know is that I can go rapid fire from one question to the next and then find out that my husband knows more than I do when it comes to the kids’ lives (who are now 30 and 28) and when I ask him how come he knows so much more, he’ll tell me, “I just listen.” He has always just listened without judgment, without interruption, without hysteria…a wise man, a good man, an outstanding father and my soul-mate. So I agree with My Life in My 60s about the importance of listening and making enough time to listen to our children.
“Letting go helps us to to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.”
This all sounds so very nice and it also sounds unrealistic from a parent’s perspective. I don’t think a parent is ever free “…from unnecessary stress!”
I am much more aligned with the African American author, Toni Morrison and what she said in her beautiful novel, Beloved, “Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that suppose to mean? In my heart it don’t mean a thing.”
Woke up to some snow covering the grass and the cars. I can objectionably affirm that yes, snow is pretty, but I pretty much hate it cause: “Every mile is two in winter.” – George Herbert.
Just discovered this poem by African American poet, Robert Hayden:
Those Winter Sundays
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?