Readers write: Language and science, readers’ recommendations, and generalizations

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff

Language and science

We will once again return to the glorious Norway fjords and isersarneq will be on my tongue, thanks to the Aug. 19 & 26 “From the Editor” column. That issue’s cover story, “The Noah’s Ark of languages,” reminds me that schools in the Washington, D.C., area have skillfully educated children from around the world for years. My second grade classroom in the Maryland suburban public schools had more than 10 languages represented in the 1990s. In my experience, children learned English quickly and, hopefully, retained their first language within their families and communities.

And Andrea Wulf wrote a stunner of a history with “The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World” a few years ago. Thanks to Anna Tarnow for her concise review of “The Adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt” by both Wulf and artist Lillian Melcher, also in the Aug. 19 & 26 issue. What a magnificent book. It speaks to the possible extinction of nature if we do not stop and notice the wonder of our environment and preserve it.

Why We Wrote This

Letters to the editor for the Oct. 7, 2019 weekly magazine.

Art and science and spoken languages of every sort are preserved within the pages of this valuable weekly magazine. Thank you.

Martha F. Barkley
Belgrade Lakes, Maine

Readers’ recommendations

In the Aug. 12 Monitor Weekly, a reader wrote about how much she liked “Abide With Me” by Elizabeth Strout. I’d missed it when it was published in 2006, but I checked it out at our library. What a wonderful book! It’s located in a small town in Maine and follows a minister as he struggles to recover his calling, his family, and his happiness after a profound loss.

I appreciate the quality of the Monitor, many of the articles, the crossword, and the easy sudoku puzzles.

Janet L. Honecker
Wheeling, West Virginia

Generalizations

Regarding the article “Nebraskans talk extreme weather. Just don’t call it climate change.” in the April 16 Monitor Daily: 

I read with dismay the statement that rural dwellers reject the idea of climate change. I live in a rural area where climate change is accepted and understood for the threat it is. There are plenty of exceptions to that blanket statement about rural dwellers.

Jake Williams
Eureka, California

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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.