History is a race between education and catastrophe
-H. G. Wells
A confession. I am not a vicious reader. However, I may possibly be the most ferocious reader of book jackets and reviews. The evidence can be found in the three foot pile sitting next to my bed, composed of anything from fiction to biography to “bettering your business” to “how to color in the lines”.
Occasionally, I do fail at avoidance.
I actually pick up a book and read past the inside cover. Once the journey begins and I’ve been captured by my prey, I’ve been known to sit for hours and days straight until I finish an entire book. Yes really, one whole book. Recently, I finished Three Cups of Tea in 2 sittings. (If you haven’t read this, it’s a must). To some this is no incredible feat, but for me it’s unheard of to be able to sit still for more than 20 minutes without some type of electronic gadget or my phone in hand.
Until recently, I’ve been trying to find something to match this masterpiece. Something to avoid attacking my guilty pile of book jackets. I found it the other day and of course it’s by the same author Greg Mortenson.
Primary education is a requirement in the United States.
Primary education in some other countries is a luxury. It is something fought for. It is something that elderly men will give up their lives fighting for. Something that young women are destroyed for. Local men will hike with 90lb bags of cement, 18 miles upriver in order to create a foundation for educating their youth. It is that important to them. The thirst for knowledge. The thirst to read.
Meanwhile, my 3 foot stack remains untouched, unread. My guilt can often creep in and hypocrisy strikes. In one moment I neglect the education at my fingertips, in the next I advocate those who fight for growth.
I was thinking of the little girls I’ve photograph and how they are protected and nurtured. Parents treasuring their innocence wanting to capture every little moment. Amazed by their first words, the first time they put letters together and read a word. Learning at such a young age to read, paint, communicate, color, dress up, explore and laugh freely. Able to roam freely. Able to experience an education. Able to dream.
We live in such an incredible country. And cheesy as it may be, I’m proud to be American. And I’m so fortunate to be able to see the next generation grow and discover.
Equally so, I am proud of people like Greg Mortenson who share that freedom and spread it across country lines. One day I hope I can pay my education forward. For now I will attempt to race over to that gigantic pile of books and get past the front cover before a ‘catastrophe’ happens and the pile falls on me whilst sleeping.
Mountains can never reach each other, despite their bigness. But humans can.