Windows and Mirrors - What Do We Tell Our Children by Florence Sprague, July 2018

What DO we tell our children when the inexplicable happens or tragedy strikes? It has been two years since the shocking, pointless shooting death of Philando Castile put Falcon Heights on the undesirable list of sites of recent police shootings of black men and boys, and that question still lingers in the air. Is the policeman a friend? Or is the policeman yet another danger in an unsafe world? Is there justice after tragedy? What is just? Who defines justice?  Can meaning be found in the senseless? How can anger and pain be channeled so that it does not devour the sufferer?


Windows and Mirrors - Let's Get Graphic by Florence Sprague , May 2018

Or: Reading Across the Generations

Millennials aren’t only more “wired” than many of their elders, they also often read different types of works. One popular option is books combining creative illustrations with smaller amounts of text: graphic novels. This is a different way to look at literature, ideas, and the world. Exploring these books can connect generations. Recently I have begun to dip my toes into the unfamiliar waters of these image-based books written for adults, with help from younger friends and relatives, and I have been intrigued by many of the offerings.


Windows and Mirrors - Rhyme and Reason by Florence Sprague, April 2018

April is National Poetry Month. People often associate poetry with ambiguity, obscurity, and torturous English papers analyzing symbolism. It’s time to look at poetry again. The world is awash in poetry today and some of the poems are quite remarkable. They can helpus to build bridges.

Sample a variety of poets from different communities at the library or on the internet. Ask friends for recommendations and if...no, when you find a poet with whom you connect, keep reading. No one will connect with all poems, but a good poet can find amazing ways to reveal the heart of an issue.


Windows and Mirrors - Attitudes by Florence Sprague, March 2018

The most disabling thing in our lives is the thing we can do the most about: our attitude. - Jeff Smith, aka Amazing Jeffo, blind magician

You may have seen the athletic wear t-shirts exhorting the wearer to get “attitude” so as to be a winner. We always have an attitude. It can be good or bad, positive or negative, kind or cruel, but we always have an attitude.

Everyone faces challenges. Some are physical and more obvious than others, but as advice columnist, Amy Dickinson, has noted, “Life does not evenly distribute its hardships and joys, and so you should stop keeping score.” We all have challenges and can hopefully seek support and guidance in working through them and respect the choices others make in dealing with theirs.


Windows and Mirrors - E is for Empathy - Florence Sprague

How do you feel about laundry? It may seem a bit silly, but I can’t do laundry without feeling lucky. The many historical novels I read in my youth made a great impression on me. I feel grateful that I do not have to haul water, heat water, make soap, scrub on a washboard, or even feed things through a wringer as I sometimes did as a child before hanging things on the line. No, I just toss things in the washing machine with magic cleaning agents and then toss most of them into the drier. Hardly anything even needs to be ironed! And when new socks are cheap, who mends much?