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National Editorials & Columns

Take the time to learn from our children

Last week I discussed how to speak with children. Children like honesty and can detect dishonesty easily. They also can detect when you are comfortable with them or not, or even really like them or not.

I’ve learned that talking with children is really the same as talking with adults. We need to be respectful and make sure we neither see them as “little adults” or worse as “immature adults”. Most often children are as respectful to an adult as the adult is respectful to them. How do you answer the comment, “My you have grown?”

Maybe to say, “What else am I supposed to do?” Adults need to be compassionate with children. Sounds easy, but are you looking at a world full of legs and every picture you look at is far above your eyes. Do you hear voices from tall wooden holes with no faces attached? Take the time to learn from children. They have much to offer. Be open minded expecting the best and you’ll often receive the best.

Childlike wonder is being amazed at the world and all its wonders. Seeing the world through the eyes of children brings a fresh aspect to your thinking. Arthur Gordon talked about an amazement of his. “Isn’t it amazing how we take them for granted, those little black marks on paper! Twenty-six different shapes known as letters, arranged in endless combinations known as words. Lifeless, until someone’s eye falls on them.

But then a miracle happens. Along the optic nerve, almost at the speed of light, these tiny symbols are flashed to the brain where they are instantly decoded into ideas, images, concepts.

The eye’s owner is changed too.  The little black marks can make him love or hate, laugh or cry, fight or run away. And what do we call this incredible chain of events? Reading.

The spoken word rushes by and is gone, but the written word remains…endures. It can be consulted over and over again … forever.”

Regular amazement keeps life interesting. Martinson said that four keys or cornerstones to strengthen marriage and families and brings healthy togetherness are: Commitment to a relationship; Communication; Conciliation; Celebration. A good home life allows us to reach in and fan the flickering flame of light in another. We cannot smash someone into loving us.

Compromise is the art of togetherness. Celebration of life in numerous ways holds a family together. Did you remember Valentine’s Day not just to your spouse, but to your children, parents, and other important people in your life? Traditions knit families together.

Part of family is all the colors of the world. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that February is Black History Month. If you are Black be proud of your heritage; if you aren’t, be proud of the accomplishments of those who are. I am sad to say in my lifetime I remember as a child in Oklahoma where those who were Black had to walk in the street when I walked on the sidewalk and the irony is I looked white, but my heritage of Native American could have put me in the same place. 

When a person is judged first by skin color, the world loses the richness of the skills of the person. No one is a color walking around; each individual is a person who adds to the world or detracts from the world by their decisions. All those who choose “good” must walk hand in hand to improve the world for our children and grandchildren.  Literacy helps us do that.

We need others in our life and literacy activities help us see broader perspectives and how other people deal with situations. Often the only difference between novels and non-fiction is that novels could happen and non-fiction did happen. Both give us tremendous insight.

Literature is the best writings of a people in both poetry and prose. The Bible, some of it written more than 3,000 years ago, is still the world’s best selling book. Literature transmits the loves and hates, the hopes and fears, the ambitions and frustrations, the failures and the triumphs, the questions, problems, experiences, and answers of humans confronting life.  Literature records humans’ struggle to come to know life and the world.  In recording this struggle, certain themes, certain ideas, emerge and persist in literature.

Writers write because they have something to say about themselves and about the human condition. The great joy of literature is discovery as it reveals life and the world.

Literature answers hard questions like “Why was I born? Why am I living?” A sign is always double-faced.  Any kind of sign has a signifier and a signified. The sign has a physical presence; this is the signifier. The meaning of a sign is interpreted by the receiver and this is the signified. Both conscious and unconscious meaning is significant literacy development.

Until next week — Christine Pauley

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