A Little Less Library

August 31st, 2010 Posted by Thought Tools 4 comments

Sandy is a generous tipper. After a restaurant meal, you can count on her to leave not only money for the waiter but also a smile and a word of appreciation. Her sensitivity was developed the summer that she waited tables earning money for college.

When my own children attend a lecture or class at their synagogue they usually make a point of thanking the speaker. Their awareness was honed through years of watching their father prepare his Torah classes and realizing the amount of work that goes into a well delivered presentation.

There is nothing like first-hand experience to make one aware of the considerable work that leads to a successful activity. Even a smoothly moving line in a supermarket expresses thought and planning, but it takes shopping in a badly run store to recognize that fact.

In my case, first-hand experience led to a personal culture clash.  By nature and upbringing I am a library and used book aficionado. While there is a certain thrill in opening crisp pages, I rarely am willing to pay the premium price rather than wait until a book is more readily available. However, since my husband started writing books and especially since working with him has become my full time job, I am acutely sensitive to the difference when someone mentions to an author that he got his book from the library versus having bought it directly. It is not only the author’s livelihood which is impacted, though it certainly is.  More so, spending money on an item which has consumed hours of labor and sweat validates that effort.

So, despite the fact that both my purse and bookshelves audibly groan on a regular basis, in the last few years, when a book impacts my life, I find myself more willing to purchase it, even if as a gift for someone else. Like Sandy’s gesture to the waiter, it’s my way of acknowledging how much I benefitted from someone’s willingness to work.

(If you would like to find out more about my husband’s books and our audio CD programs, you can find them here.

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4 comments

Vicki K says:

Amen! Summertime jobs during my college years have left their impact on me too. My grungiest job was cleaning a small town laundromat for a few months. Now I am very conscious about how I leave a public space, whether it’s the library or a ball park. I also spent several months working at a daycare – one where the staff truly enjoyed the children and cared that they did a good job. However, at 19, I could plainly see that given usual (?) circumstances, nobody but nobody but nobody will love and care for a baby/child more than his or her mother and father. Nobody.
Thanks to you and Rabbi, for your weekly lessons and musings. Their impact goes beyond the immediate few minutes it takes to read them. You just can’t know how many times snippets come back to me at different moments. Thank you.

Vicki K says:

Amen! Summertime jobs during my college years have left their impact on me too. My grungiest job was cleaning a small town laundromat for a few months. Now I am very conscious about how I leave a public space, whether it’s the library or a ball park. I also spent several months working at a daycare – one where the staff truly enjoyed the children and cared that they did a good job. However, at 19, I could plainly see that given usual (?) circumstances, nobody but nobody but nobody will love and care for a baby/child more than his or her mother and father. Nobody.
Thanks to you and Rabbi, for your weekly lessons and musings. Their impact goes beyond the immediate few minutes it takes to read them. You just can’t know how many times snippets come back to me at different moments. Thank you.

susan says:

Thanks, Vicki. One of the worrying things about today’s economy coupled with a high minimum wage is that many high school and college students aren’t getting work experience that not only gives them money and skills, but helps them figure out what they want to do with their lives.

susan says:

Thanks, Vicki. One of the worrying things about today’s economy coupled with a high minimum wage is that many high school and college students aren’t getting work experience that not only gives them money and skills, but helps them figure out what they want to do with their lives.

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