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Books – My Drug of Choice

By Kellie Purcill

My addiction started by the time I was two. The promise of a Little Golden Book would have me sitting placid and quiet while my Mum did the weekly grocery shop. Legend has it that she could read it to me once, then I’d read it to myself from then on.

I can’t remember learning to read, or even being read to. As far back as I can remember, though, are pages of books, with dust and words and pastels and stains and too many dog eared corners to count. The first book I remember causing emotional pain was Black Beauty, closely followed by London’s The Call of the Wild. I think I was about eight, no more than ten years of age, and books were surgically, magically inserting me into dragons, horses, dogs, spaceships, soldiers. I read far up trees, getting high.

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Thinking about Empathy

By Rosalyn Eves

After the Sandy Hook shooting last month, I sat down with my oldest son (he turned 7 on Christmas Eve) to talk to him about the shooting because I didn’t want him to hear about it first from other kids at school. I was still reeling from the news, from the heart-breaking reflection that all those children were the same age as this beloved child in front of me. I couldn’t stop thinking about those parents whose grief I couldn’t fully know, but could imagine with painful clarity.
I realized, as our discussion ended, that I might have frightened my son, so I added, “This kind of thing is really unlikely to happen here,” and reminded him (and me!) of statistics that suggest that school is still a safe place for children.

My son’s response shocked me a little. “That’s okay, mom. If someone comes to my school I’ll just run away really fast, so maybe he’ll get the other kids but not me.”

I felt like he’d missed something critical in our discussion, but I wasn’t sure what, so beyond a reminder that we don’t want anyone to get shot, I let him go. In the weeks since, I’ve realized that his response bothers me because it betrays a lack of empathy.

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