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Friday, June 1, 2012

Off to Sea (See?!)

Ah, Memorial Day.  A chance to enjoy a day off from work, but it's still important to take the time to think about why we have to have such a day and give thanks.  Since I was already in a contemplative mood this morning, as I was reading the paper, I came across the most interesting article.  Gregory White wrote an article about the profound effect that reading a book review in the newspaper had on his life.  Now, mind you, it started with a book review, not the book itself, in an actual newspaper.  See, Mr. White was in prison at the time, having committed an armed robbery at age 20, in maximum security from 1981 to 2003.  The reviewed book was "Black Jacks: African American Seaman in the Age of Sail" by W. Jeffrey Bolster.  The review reminded Mr. White about the dreams he had had as a child to become a sailor, how he had joined the Navy at 17, but how he had made some bad decisions along the way that got him discharged from the Navy and into prison.  But, this one book review led him to contact the author of the book, a professor at the University of New Hampshire, who sent him a copy and encouraging words and, over the years, became a mentor and friend.  It's an amazing article about this man's desire to change, hard work, and triumph.  Here's the full article from the Washington Post.

Actually, the article I'm interested in reading is the one that would be written by the professor.  Can you imagine having written a book and then receiving a letter from a prison inmate recounting the impact  that a review of the book has made on him?! We often just don't realize or think about how small actions on our part can have profound impacts on other people.  Something to think about...

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