One of the more endearing aspects of little kids is how they notice the little things that we, as adults, somehow become oblivious to over time.
I was reminded of this while driving our two boys home from a T-ball game. As the obstacles of the road and life were competing for my focus, young Solomon and Lionel were audibly in awe of something outside the car. After rubbernecking a bit, I finally noticed what they were talking about — a squirrel that was doing its best Karl Wallenda imitation on an electric wire between two telephone poles.
For a moment, at least, I found myself in wonder, too — over the memories of not only noticing but also appreciating the simpler things in life.
I’m guessing life is a little more complicated for the kids that attend Marion-Sterling Elementary School in the Central neighborhood of Cleveland. But I’m also certain that they’ve already noticed and embraced the efforts of Shaker Heights resident Lisa Weitzman.
As detailed on page 7 of this issue, Weitzman went out of her way to renovate the school’s outdated library. Having been there for a photo shoot, I can vouch that the classroom-sized space is a beautiful sight. The first thing you notice — something every bit as eye-catching as that daredevil squirrel — are the stenciled “quotable quotes” that border the tops of each wall. Among the dozen or so passages that promote the value of books and reading are these gems:
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” — Harry S. Truman
“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read.” — Mark Twain
“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx
The citations reminded me that I wish I would read more often. A friend once told me that the only way to write better is to do just that. If that is the case, I’m lucky I can write my own name, let alone put together CBC on a monthly basis. But I’ve got a plan. Once I finish off my resolution this year — to watch each of the American Film Institute’s top 100 movies (37 more to go) — I am going to dedicate 2012 to reading all of those lonely books that are otherwise serving as decorations on our living-room bookshelves.
Back at Marion-Sterling, I trust the students will do likewise inside their new library. It’s inevitable that Weitzman will make a difference in their lives. And after seeing a group of smiling children rally around her for an impromptu group photograph, it’s great to know that Weitzman’s generosity — as a reader and a leader — is very much appreciated.