Most children and their daddies love throwing pebbles into the water. What I loved about being a public librarian was the opportunity to throw thousands of pebbles over the years. Handing the right book to a child going through a difficult time could be worth months of therapy. A ten minute conversation with a distressed mom can help her and her child. Fifteen minutes coaxing an elder to try the internet can open up the world for her. Guiding a frightened new cancer patient to local support groups might lessen their fear. I prefer being a librarian to being a social worker. Insurance companies compell therapists to put numbers of people; librarians only number the books.” So many public librarians considered being social workers.
I once treated a young Irishman struggling with gay identity issues. Introducing him to James Baldwin was my crucial intervention. A friend, a ER psychiatric social worker at a large municipal hospital, has an office filled with books that he gives away. Chris believes many people experiencing the spiritual emergency of acute mental distress need a good listener and the right book, not hospital admission and mind-dulling drugs.
Being a La Leche leader was also a deeply rewarding way to create ripples. In the days before cordless phones, I use to have a phone cord that stretched anywhere downstairs, from the front to the back door, so I could give breastfeeding suggestions and make sure my kids weren’t painting themselves purple or making potions to feed to the baby or decorating the playroom with talcum power and desitin.
Blogging, commenting, and linking allow us to throw even more pebbles.