Inspiring trash pickup, summer camp activities

Letters to the editor for the Sept. 26, 2016 weekly magazine.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis picks up trash on his two-mile walk to work, on June 22, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Inspiring trash pickup

When my Monitor arrived, the first thing I read was the wonderful Aug. 1 article on Michael Dukakis. I was so disappointed when I turned the page and there was no more – I didn’t want it to end! I loved the simplicity and yes, the dignity of his picking up litter on his way to work. What a fine example for us all. 

This also reminded me of an incident that meant a great deal to me. We were living in Brookline, Mass., on an eight-acre gated estate. Every night, I would take a walk and I would pick up various items that had been tossed aside. One night, I saw a tiny piece of paper. When I started to pick it up, the thought came that it was too tiny to bother with, but I stooped to get that little piece of paper. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when I saw it was a crumpled-up dollar bill that had been folded so that it was unrecognizable. Well, it took my breath away and showed me that no act is insignificant. 

So thank you for this splendid article. I trust it will inspire others as it has me. Many thanks for all your good work.

Margaret Wylie

Eastampton, N.J.

Summer camp activities

Regarding the Aug. 9 article “A window into Gaza’s future – through summer camps” (CSMonitor.com): Although the reporter was not allowed to enter a Hamas-run summer camp to see what was actually going on, she did elicit from one camper a highly revealing hint of those camps’ highly militarized nature. Other reports have noted that their summer fun activities have included weapons training with live ammunition, navigating simulated battlefield conditions, simulated kidnappings of Israelis, and other military skills. 

For these young charges, emphasis is on bombs instead of books, guns instead of games, and incitement to hatred instead of the instilling of good feelings. Those camps truly do offer an extremely bleak “window into Gaza’s future.”

Richard D. Wilkins

Syracuse, N.Y.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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