The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books

What good people do

They create schools and teach in  schools–schools in the middle of cities and in villages and under trees…schools that nurture imagination and creativity and thinking…schools that care for and about people’s minds and bodies and spirits…schools that are places of reading and thinking and beauty.

They also GO to school and take it seriously and ask questions and read and dream and think about the world and everything in it.  They treasure their libraries and share books.

They take in abandoned kitties crouching under the porch and put up with their yowling, prowling ways, even when that means getting up in the middle of the night or early in the morning.  They love their cats even when those cats don’t guard their backyard gardens against the groundhogs that munch the vegetables. 

They volunteer their time to make sure that people in hospitals have what they need…whether that something is medicine or a good way to say good-bye or a quiet place to hold a teeny baby that has a better chance of survival if it can be held in a place that’s a quiet, lulling pod and not a bright, bustling, big room. 

They understand that even a kid can do something important in this world–maybe raise some money for that hospital, for example.  Maybe write an essay that inspires someone else.  Maybe visit other kids who don’t have the chance to be in their own homes right now because they’re too sick.

They make sure weary travelers and guests they’ve invited to their city have a welcome waiting in the hotel room.  They know and love local food and save historic gardens and savor their memories of running barefoot through the mud.

They make art and save old buildings and help people laugh.

They never lose a sense of playfulness.  They plant things in their gardens that are good for butterflies and are excited when it’s a good summer for all fluttering things.

They read.

They write.

They tell me about their brothers and sisters and cousins coming from Ethiopia and let me know they want to know more.  They understand that how we spend our time matters and that we all can make a difference.

Thank you, Pittsburgh.  Thank you, Louisville.  Next stop…Birmingham.

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