Readers write: The power of moral strength, and effects of fire

Letters to the editor for the Feb. 11, 2019 weekly magazine.

Chris Helgren/Reuters
Punters crowd around a bookmaker at Wimbledon Stadium in London, in May 2011.

The power of moral strength

Thank you for the Dec. 10 editorial in the Weekly Print Edition, “Ask the kids who don’t gamble.” It highlights the natural resistance to risky and negative behaviors that kids are endowed with – what you call “moral strength.” We are each endowed with this, and it is our moral duty to mankind to understand and uphold this integrity as an innate part of ourselves and others. 

I have been involved in preventive efforts in my hometown through a group called Communities That Care. It is a nationally recognized program. There are many other such programs as well, including those of the Christian Science Church, its Sunday Schools, and the DiscoveryBound program and various camps. 

There are countless ways to engage children and employ the important qualities that your editorial pointed out: “talent, teamwork, and hard work.” I’m glad to know of national studies that are researching preventive approaches. After all, prevention is always the best course of action.

Ali Ziesler

Park City, Utah

Effects of fire

The Dec. 31 Monitor Daily article “ ‘It’s like we don’t exist’: California’s invisible rural housing crisis” is a timely story addressing a valid concern. Please keep up the stories on this unfolding tragedy. 

I live in a rural town in northern California where growth is stymied by the magnet effect of nearby larger cities. It is close to the Camp fire in Paradise, and I now see an influx of burned-out evacuees seeking permanent housing, buying or renting. 

The prices for existing homes have made significant increases, and rental costs have jumped. We are now seeing an increase in homeless people; most are harmless, but I believe some are not. Temporary housing from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is being planned but is getting blowback from some residents. 

Empathy is not coming to the fore. It is a sad deal.

Gordon Jones

Gridley, Calif.

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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.