When I was a beginner reader, the teacher introduced our class to two topics: Fiction and Nonfiction. It was unusually difficult for me to comprehend the difference, and I was forever confusing them.
Until a kindly librarian took me aside and pointed to the actual words on the card catalog, and then walked me to each shelved books’ sections.
The time it took for our library tour was probably only minutes, yet the experience seemed so broad, so mind opening, that I thought it took half the day.
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” ─ Henry David Thoreau
Sometimes things just stick in our brains, and no amount of repeating the issue straightens it out, like I was with Fiction and Nonfiction. But good old fashioned hand-holding and visuals make the lightbulb pop.
We need someone willing to stand beside us, take our mind in their hands, and show us. Then, once we grasp a concept, it becomes ours.
Since I can’t recall the librarian’s name, can I give a shoutout to all you amazing library media specialists? You do your job, and unlike classroom educators, you may never hear how influential you were. Thank you!
Knowledge, unlike memories, won’t wax then wane. Knowledge becomes power. We pick up tidbits, build on them and acquire a lifetime of information.
We finesse our information into wisdom. Wisdom, in turn, becomes a precious perceptive quality we filter fundamental choices. Through life’s filter we determine right from wrong.
Speaking of choices, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the election, still fresh on our minds. As a country, we are in the process of sifting through our values, and measuring our viewpoint versus where political leaders stand.
In the midst of all things political, we continue to wake up each morning, guided by our work, school, and family obligations. It feels like we are consumed by our lives.
We use reminders for appointments; apps for where, when and what to eat; and microchips for our pets, children and cars.
And now we’re approaching the holiday season. The hamster wheel we call life, spins, and we’re simply passengers on a never ending journey.
Our timeline, while horizontal, will only allot us to walk vertically for so many more years.
We make one choice. Each choice is a step. Each step builds our legacy.
“Legacy is not leaving something for people. It’s leaving something in people.” ─ Peter Strople
The shoulders on which I stand are multiple decades high, wide and strong. Many mentors guided me, including the library media specialist.
Another of those wonderful women who influenced me, as a new journalist, was Gwen Ifill. You may have heard of her recent passing, and her fabulous legacy. You can read more about her life here.
She mentored many, and I can only hope to impact others the way she did me. Her career was about a decade ahead of mine, and hers was a public path as a reporter, broadcast journalist and co-anchor; and I, walking the secluded road, as a columnist, ghostwriter and author.
What does your legacy look like?