August 06, 2011

Important Things Don't Change

Language.  I am delighted and enchanted by it.  I am fascinated with the origins of words and even keep a list of words that “feel wonderful” in my mouth when I say them.  Encapsulated, nomenclature, viscosity, ephemeral, cacophony, hoisin and gossamer –these are but a few of my favorites.

As time goes by, so much changes  including the language that surrounds us.  I smile as I reflect that when I was a child “gaming” meant checkers or Monopoly or best of all, a round of jacks.  Being “online” meant it was my turn to take the bag of clothespins and wet clothes outside to dry.  “Downloading music” meant putting the flat plastic sprocket in a 45 and placing it on a turntable.  And “chilling” meant a most welcome trip to our cellar on a hot summer day or a turn in front of our family’s noisy box fan.

I look back with a sense of nostalgia to what was and I look forward with a sense of wonder to what’s next.  As I stand in the shifting midst of both the past and the future, I hold on to one of my grandma’s favorite sayings, Lots of things change, but the most important things don’t.

I was reminded of her wisdom again last week on a lovely evening at Reaney Park as our community came together to celebrate the end of the library’s Summer Reading Program  Being at the finale each July, I see that important things don’t change.  Sweet, amazing, wise children from countries all around the world reach out to each other and hold hands as they sing and dance and remind us “big folks” how to live with joy rather than fear.   The importance of acceptance.   Each year I see it.  It touches me deeply and provides me with a great sense of hope for our shared future.
 
The Reaney Park gathering truly reflected the library’s Summer Reading theme, “One World, Many Stories.” It was a living example of what our world leaders strive to achieve. One might ask, how did it happen?  How is that possible?  It’s possible because little ones led the way and celebrated our  commonalities, rather than our differences.  And as a result, fears, biases and preconceived judgments took a much needed back seat.   Does it get any better or more important than that?  I think not.

 So, thank you to all of the families who brought your children and made it such a special night for everyone.  Thanks also to the Board of Neill Public Library for supporting the staff’s hard work and to the Friends of Neill Public Library, whose financial support made the Summer Reading Program possible. Thanks also to Mayor Glenn Johnson, members of the Pullman Police and Fire Departments, the staff at Pullman Parks and Recreation and to the City’s Maintenance Department.  Our community’s teens also deserve a huge pat on the back for the 292 hours they volunteered this summer.  And heartfelt thanks to the local merchants whose generous donations also made such a difference.

The generosity of good people – another important thing that doesn’t change.  And for that and so much more, I am ever so grateful and re-inspired.   So, I propose we each make a concentrated effort to recognize these important things and do all we can to nurture them.  I’m willing and hope you are too.  And if we need examples, we’ll look to the little ones. Thanks everyone!  Here’s to the future of the most important things not changing.     
Kathleen Ahern
Children’s Librarian
published 8/6/11 in Moscow-Pullman Daily News

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