Readers write: Prairie presence, and delayed adulthood

Letters to the editor for the March 25, 2019 weekly magazine.

Anna Tarnow/The Christian Science Monitor
A tiger swallowtail butterfly lands on a blazing star wildflower on the prairie at Shaw Nature Reserve in Villa Ridge, Mo. Over the past three decades, a community of conservationists and land managers has worked to preserve American grasslands.

Prairie presence

Regarding the Feb. 18 Points of Progress article, “Slow and steady, grassland grows”: As a native of a prairie state – North Dakota – the article on grasslands expressing concern for their conservation evoked a “yes!” There are national grasslands established in North Dakota, and when I bought a 1/3-acre piece of odd land within Bismarck, I planned to find prairie grasses to plant around the house I would build. I was concerned that children particularly would have only a textbook awareness of these beautiful and useful plants. Farmlands around Bismarck were being developed rapidly, doing away with any shred of native grasses. 

I planted six kinds on a hillside I’d terraced, and for the next seven years, I enjoyed them through all seasons. I only heard one comment from an elderly passerby, who thought the blue-blooming flax magnificent. But I hope that others enjoyed not only the flax but the grammas and bluestems, also in all seasons. Yes, I did have lawns, too, and flowers, but my private prairie was much appreciated in its own way.

Dorothy J. Jackman

Salt Lake City

Delayed adulthood

The Jan. 14 cover story, “Adulting 101,” misses the obvious explanation for why some adolescents are delaying the transition to adulthood. If you look at the history of the United States or at the world around us, you see a progression in the age at which children take on the responsibilities of adults. 

At first, children are sent out into the fields and factories as soon as they are physically able. Then they stay at home for primary education, then high school, and then college. Each step is rightly viewed as an indicator of social and economic progress and a promise of future progress. And so it is today. Until recently, only the rich could afford to ease their children’s post-college transition into the adult world. Now, many in the middle class can afford to do this as well, and so they do. It’s as simple as that.

Eric Klieber

Cleveland Heights, Ohio

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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.”

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