Tag Archives: learning

A vast university

“The whole of Paris is a vast university of Art, Literature and Music… it is worth anyone’s while to dally here for years. Paris is a seminar, a post-graduate course in everything.”  — James Thurber People who love Paris and didn’t love school might not agree with Thurber, but I connected with his description immediately.  …

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Near the water’s edge

“Children instinctively choose to build near the water’s edge knowing that the water to sand ratio is vital, and I believe that they also know that at the end of the exercise their hard work will be reclaimed by the incoming tide. Even very young children know that they cannot take their creation home – …

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The duty to try

“I suspect that most of the individuals who have religious faith are content with blind faith. They feel no obligation to understand what they believe. They may even wish not to have their beliefs disturbed by thought. But if God in whom they believe created them with intellectual and rational powers, that imposes upon them …

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Forever free

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” — Frederick Douglass Matt taught himself to read before he started kindergarten, and throughout his elementary school years, his reading tested at several years above grade level.  Given the severity of some of his other learning challenges, including extremely deficient motor planning and poor neurological …

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Open arms

“A library should be like a pair of open arms.” ― Roger Rosenblatt “So why on earth would you take an eight-month-old baby to a library?” my mother asked me, when I told her how Matt and I had spent the previous day with Grady.  As a retired librarian who specialized in youth services, I …

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Read or learned or picked up

“One of the great joys of being a librarian is that it is the last refuge of the renaissance person — everything you have ever read or learned or picked up is likely to come in handy.” — GraceAnne DeCandido Sometimes I think the term “renaissance person” is too loosely used in the modern sense, …

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The seriousness of a child

“Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.” — Heraclitus There’s a lot of talk about how childhood is magical and carefree, and I agree that it was (or is) a wondrous time for many of us.  Yet even with the most advantageous childhood, I think the first …

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If you look

“If you look at an illuminated manuscript, even today, it just blows your mind.  For them, without all the clutter and inputs that we have, it must have been even more extraordinary.”  — Geraldine Brooks I started reading aloud to our sons when they were babies, and kept it up nightly until they were in …

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What to do

“Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” – Susan Ertz As the warm weather fades and the cold or rainy season moves in, we’ll all be indoors more, whether we like or not. I like it. I relish the chance to spend hours at home, puttering …

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We must discover

“We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” — Marcel Proust As several readers have pointed out recently, we have many sources from which to seek wisdom. For people of faith, holy scriptures are primary; for all of us, other …

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The world’s best teachers

“Children and animals are the world’s best teachers– but very few adults really want to be educated.” — Ashleigh Brilliant Educators have long known that learning is optimal when the lessons are engaging and fun.  What better teachers, then, than animals and children?  I hope there are more adults wanting this sort of education than …

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In the fall

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” ― Nora Ephron I love fall because it is connected with my happiest memories of childhood.  In particular, the onset of cooler …

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Do not cease to play

“We do not cease to play because we grow old, we grow old because we cease to play.” — George Bernard Shaw Everybody who needs more fun time, raise your hands.  OK, that’s settled…we need to make more time  for play! Of course, when I say “play” I’m not talking about watching TV, or even playing “Angry …

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The answer to a great many things

“I have a feeling that in the end, probably, that training is the answer to a great many things. You can do a lot if you are properly trained, and I hope I have been.” — Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom With characteristic reserve, Queen Elizabeth II summed up her secret …

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A big journey

“Childhood isn’t just something we ‘get through.’ It’s a big journey, and it’s one we’ve all taken. Most likely, though, we’ve forgotten how much we had to learn along the way about ourselves and others.” — Fred Rogers One of the most sobering things about being around children is the realization that everything we do …

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Blinking once-sealed eyes

“I do not know what I am doing. But just like a baby bird, I am blinking once-sealed eyes and unfolding damp wings.” —Julie Gregory No matter how old we grow, life forces us to keep learning.  Sometimes it helps to re-frame even the most difficult experiences as opportunities to increase our competence, tenacity or …

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Irrevocably a reader

“At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.” — Alberto Manguel It’s never to late to have this magical instant happen in your life.  …

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Mind and soul

“Let knowledge grow from more to more, But more of reverence in us dwell; That mind and soul, according well, May make one music as before, But vaster.” —  Alfred, Lord Tennyson Several miles from the palaces of knowledge found at the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington National Cathedral stands in a quiet residential area seldom congested with the …

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Read them fairy tales

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” — attributed to Albert Einstein I could not verify that the quote above actually came from Einstein, but countless sources verify his more famous statement that “imagination is more important …

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Libraries will get you through

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.” —Anne Herbert Whenever I am feeling grouchy about paying taxes, I try to think of the wonderful public libraries that have given so much to our family over the years.  I can think of few …

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Gather and transform

“The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But the bee takes a middle course: it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of …

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A delightful society

“Books are delightful society.  If you go into a room and find it full of books – even without taking them from the shelves they seem to speak to you, to bid you welcome.”  ―    William Ewart Gladstone From the most magnificent libraries to the humblest bookshelves, I feel at home wherever there are books.  …

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There sat the world

“I was a hugely unchaperoned reader, and I would wander into my local public library and there sat the world, waiting for me to look at it, to find out about it, to discover who I might be inside it.” – Patrick Ness When I was a child, we didn’t have nearly as many children’s …

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Such beautiful lessons

Another morning and I wake with thirst  for the goodness I do not have. I walk  out to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,  I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in your …

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The jangled soul can flee

‘Tis fitting in these days of noise, Here in these thunder years of steam, The soul should keep its equipoise And think its thoughts and dream its dream. We scar the placid vales with mills, We scoop the seas and shear the hills: ‘Tis well that to these temples of the mind The jangled soul …

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