Sunday, September 16, 2007

Explore the gift of learning to learn

Hello and greetings from your resident feline at Pine River Public Library.

Our library wants your input. Please go into the library and fill out the survey so that the Kitchigami Regional Library can know more about what they can do for you. Isn’t that nice?

The children – I do so love them – have made drawings on quilt squares that have been sewn into a truly marvelous quilt. (If you win it, can I please rest on it for a bit? There is even a drawing of me!) We are asking for donations for a chance to win this amazing quilt. The proceeds will go to next summer’s Summer Reading Program. Stop by The Pine River Public Library and look what the children created.

I consider myself rather erudite for a pussy cat. Erudition is a learned thing. Even cats must learn language in order to communicate. I am also a philosopher, and as I must from time to time, I will share my philosophy with you, my trusted readers. School is beginning. This is not a prison camp or a daycare center where children go during the day. It is a precious gift, this learning. Oddly, one must learn to learn. This, primarily, is the purpose of school. To teach children to learn. This lesson includes the invaluable gift of learning to find out things for ones self. It is freeing for a young person to be able to rely on self to locate answers to his or her questions. If you have never heard a child exclaim, “Guess what I found out today!” you missed the ultimate in the human experience. Parents, this is a gentle way of explaining why it is so important to let your children do their own schoolwork. Help them if they need help, for you are their parents and that is your job, but allow them the exhilaration of finding out things for themselves. Muriel and her staff at the library will happily provide gentle guidance when needed. I will now quote the passage about children from “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran, because it is beautiful:

And a woman who held a babe against
Her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s
longing for itself.
They come through you but not from
you, and though they are with you yet they
belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not
your thoughts,
for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not
their souls,
for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even
in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek
not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries
with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path
of the infinite, and He bends you with His
might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand
be for gladness;
for even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Your children are your future. Take very good care of them.
I remain,

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal September 13, 2007