Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.

6.23.2010

Values Manifest in Little Ways

As most libraries do, we have a summer reading program to encourage kids to read while they’re out of school. Our goals are that they have fun with recreational reading (as opposed to assigned reading) and that they don’t let their reading skills sit dormant during the vacation from school. So the ideal instance would be the kids taking their reading logs at the end of May, reading the entire summer, and returning them at the start of August.

But with families going out of town and the like and because we can’t handle that many completions all at once, we allow them to return their completed logs much earlier than the ideal. The majority of them still wait until near the end of summer, but the option to finish early exists. Monday of this week was the beginning of the window to return completed logs for this summer. A few have trickled in.

The library I work in is suburban, but in a basically middle class suburban neighborhood. In recent years new growth has been developing further out, and it’s a higher socioeconomic level. We can tell by school district (we notify schools of their students’ participation in summer reading) that those who have completed summer reading so far have come from the newer areas.

I believe that’s an indication of the achievement culture of the upper middle class. It's just one example (another being more teens looking for volunteer credit for their “resumes”) of the competitive spirit that drives their success. It’s not my value since I’m all about reading for intrinsic rewards, but you can tell what matters most for these families is setting a goal and being the first to complete it; through things like turning in reading logs at the first possible opportunity, the parents are teaching their kids to be driven to compete in an achievement-based society.

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