Act 351

Buy new books with old books

I visited my local used bookstore yesterday. I limit my visits to the bookstore because it’s a danger spot for me. I love books. I’d fill my house with them if I could. They are small, delightful, artful, meaningful objects full of knowledge.

The store is full to the brim but I’m told that they are always looking for new stock. And everything I bring in can be used for store credit. So over the holidays, I’ll collect some books from home and trade them in for some new to me books.

Books never expire. They keep some of their value. Maybe buying so many books in the first place wasn’t such a bad idea afterall.


Act 337

Mentor and Tutor

I watched the Bottom Line Panel last night on The National discuss what they ┬ácalled “Generation Screwed” about young people, the generation after mine, who are in a much worst position than my generation (Generation X) or my parents generation (the boom).

Everything I learned, I learned from the generation ahead of me – my parents, my relatives, my friend’s parents, my teachers, my employers, our leaders. And much of what they are learning they will learn from us as we assume most of those roles now.

I think it’s important to mentor and tutor whenever possible. Either in your paid work or your volunteer work or your hobbies. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a teacher to help someone else learn something new.

I worry that we’ve commodified education to the point that it’s something you can only have if you pay for it (and, as a result, go into debt for it). Young people are graduating with record debt levels into an economy with record youth unemployment. If they don’t pay, they don’t learn. If they don’t learn, we don’t pay. Or worst, they learn and we don’t pay (internships). It’s a bizarre way to progress, isn’t it?

I always welcome the opportunity to have a young person in my field job shadow, work on a project (with pay!) or just come to the office for a visit. We need young people to know that we need young people. And the best way to do that is to invite them in. Mentor, tutor, teach. Share that which was shared with you, a trade, a profession, a craft, whatever it happens to be.

It’s worth all our while. One day, they’ll take care of us.