I was shelving books the other day to help the student pages and came across this book. I thought I could use a bit of inspiration and trusted that Craig and Marc Kielburger’s book would satiate my apetite for something inspiring. I was not in the least disappointed. (The book caught my eye since I remember as I was growing up wondering to myself “Wow!” how could these two boys the same age as me start their own charity – Free the Children and do so much to help others.)
Me to We is the blueprint and philosophy behind Craig and Marc’s change at the personal level and beyond and is written to help all of us take the step from Me to We. This book inspires readers to ask “is this the best decision for the community or the best decision for future generations” before deciding for themselves.
For me, this book is a blueprint for the life I would like to live and for the life I am currently constructing. Although I can not and never could live to be the volunteer or social activist that the Kielburger’s are, the book reminded me that if each of us takes a small step that amounts to significant change.
For me, my small steps culminated into making a life change. Not long before starting into the masters program at school I made a decision that impacted my life tremendously. I left a job in the corporate world which left me feeling unethical as a person. I decided instead to return to school to become a public librarian to help others and give back to the community one person at a time. There have been times where I look back and think about what I could have had, but then I really think about how unhappy I was and realize that I need to remember success is not the job title, pay cheque or clothes one wears. One of the quotations the Kielburgers share in their book is this one by Ralph Waldo Emerson about the meaning of success and the choices we each make in our lives:
“To laugh much; to win respect of intelligent persons and the affections of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give one’s self; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition.; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived–this is to have succeeded.” (192)
As an aspiring public librarian I will most definitely take with me the point that community is important to our own personal health and to the well being of each and every person living within a community. As Craig and Mark make the point that communities are falling apart and that this is affecting the physical health of everyone, I am hoping that through the library I can help people to rebuild and resolidify the importance of community. This can be applied to the library community itself, but it is even more necessary to apply the principle of community to the space in which the library is located (physical and virtual spaces). In our “civilized” society we have become highly specialized in our tasks and are completely dependent on one another though most of the time we are unaware of that fact. I know that I would not be able to eat if it weren’t for the grocery stores, farmers, truck drivers, gas stations, railways, fresh clean water, electricity to cook food, … the list goes on (and on!).