Colleen Mondor has a post today about her desire to make a difference with what she does, in light of big-picture things going on in the world. I started to comment about this at her site, and my thoughts rapidly grew to the point where I needed a separate post for them. This concept of making a difference is why, no matter how busy I get, I still try to at least do the children's literacy and reading advocacy posts on my blog. It's also why I try to read and review books for all age levels, even though it would simplify my own life if I picked an age range, and focused on that. I truly feel that if, in my small way, I can help people to help the kids that they know to love books, I'm helping them to change the world in a tiny but positive way.
This will not, of course, directly lead to world peace or end world hunger. However, every kid who learns to love books will have that more of an opportunity to do well in school, to learn more, and to be more successful in life (in whatever way he or she ends up defining success). And once you have those kids growing up to make a difference, well, there's no end in sight.
It's because I believe this so strongly that I'm able to justify spending the time that I spend on my blog (and trust me, it's a lot of time). Sure, I enjoy the books (I have always loved reading children's and young adult books). I love talking about books with like-minded people - this makes me feel connected and validated. But for me personally, it's the higher calling about helping people to encourage kids to love books that has me prioritizing my blogging time. This is why I stay up until midnight scouring blog posts, and work on my literacy round-ups when I should be making dinner. [And I'm not at all saying that everyone needs to have a higher purpose about it - blogging is fun and rewarding in and of itself. This is just how it is for me.]
Am I fooling myself? Am I creating this higher purpose to justify spending time on something that I want to spend time on anyway (I mean, making dinner has never been a big joy for me)? Maybe sometimes, but I really don't think so overall. I get emotional when I think about kids and reading. When I talk about this with people, I'm passionate about it (to the point of being annoying). I've always, dating back to long before I started my blog, wanted to spend time reading with my friends' children (I would frequently choose that over adult conversation, even with close friends). I've always bought books for kids, and donated them to organizations that give books to kids. This is my thing. This is what lights me up.
What I think I need to do now is take another look at my blog, and how I can focus my time better to support my goal. [I've been partly inspired by Kelly Herold on this, too]. I would welcome feedback and suggestions from parents and teachers and librarians - the people who interact directly with kids. Because you've the ones who really have an impact. I'm just here, trying to shine a little light on some great books and some worthy literacy and reading efforts. Because, like Colleen said, even if it's a small thing, I think that's something good to do. Thanks for listening.
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.