Sowing the Seeds that Create Meaning in Our Lives

Categories: Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, EMPOWERMENT AND SUCCESS: Literacy Support, CEO Message,

Dear Friends:

I have been thinking a lot lately about my favorite line from Lois Ehlert's children's book, Planting a Rainbow.

"We sow the seeds and set out the plants in the soil, and watch the rainbow grow."

I enjoy it not just because of the beautiful imagery it evokes, but because of the simplicity behind its message.

Sometimes during these busy months that we call "season," it is easy to get lost in the complexities of the world around us. We worry about the traffic and whether or not we will be late for an appointment. We grow frustrated about how difficult it is to make a reservation at our favorite restaurant or to buy tickets for an upcoming show. We juggle our calendars to squeeze in the next event or to make sure we can attend that lecture we have been hearing about for weeks from friends. We prepare for house guests from those colder climates.

Seldom, it seems, do we take the time to appreciate the really meaningful moments in our lives - and the many simple ways we can and do make an impact in our community on a daily basis. That is why I want to share with you a precious part of my days.

During this hectic time of year, one of my most cherished activities is to read to children in our local schools. Whether preschoolers or elementary school students, I love seeing their eager faces, beaming with anticipation, as they hang on every word with a sense of wonder and awe simply over what will come next. In each of these moments, I am reminded of my own youth and of my first memories of joy, imagination, curiosity and discovery.

The interest of these young learners in what is happening on the pages of a book assures me that the work the Community Foundation and our supporters are doing to improve grade-level reading for all students in our area as part of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading is being undertaken for precisely the right reasons.

Thanks to the strong relationship we enjoy with Sarasota County Schools and the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County, I have several readings with youngsters planned in the coming weeks and months. Perhaps you will join me for one of them. But even if that is not possible, I hope you will take the time to read with a young child in your life.

Taking the time to read with a child not only sparks an interest and curiosity in the external world, it demonstrates that he or she is valued and that time reading together is something to be cherished. It also reminds each of us to slow down, breathe and, at least for the moment, sow the seeds that will help our community's rainbow grow and flourish.

As always, I want to hear from you. Let me know what grounds you during busier times in your life or what fruits you hope to see from the seeds you have planted.

With gratitude,