The men wonder why we read a book for ages 10 and up and has pictures and short chapters. I say because its a good book. Then they balk at reading and say its stupid, that they know how to read. I say “just humor me” and they start to take turns. Some men stumble over each and every word. Others read with a lilt that I could listen to all day. Others refuse to read altogether but listen. Others change their minds and raise their hands to read after all. Some you want to cry because it is so sweet listening to their voices reading aloud wondering when was the last time they read to others.
A few excerpts reveal the common theme in the book…
“There’s plenty about my life I can’t change. Can’t bring the dead back to life on this earth. Can’t make the world loving and kind. Can’t change myself into a millionaire. But a patch of ground in this trashy lot – I can change that. Can change it big. Better to put my time into that than moaning about the other all day.”
“For thirty-six years I worked for different groups promoting world government, setting up conferences on pacifism…. Sometimes I think I’ve actually had more effect on the world since I retired. What do I do? I smile at people ….”
… that one person can change himself and thus change many. The students have surely seen the negative ramifications of this in their lives. This book offers a positive glimpse of change, of hope, of a good and connected life.
It must be working, at the end of class they always say thank you.