Born with the teaching gene and not likely to recover any time soon: That is my self-diagnosis. I write, do book talks and edit, but sit by my side for a minute and I will likely try to teach you something.
I can’t help it. I started out as a teacher with a blackboard, some chalk and a captive student. I was 8 years old and undaunted by Pinky the dog’s limited attention span.
My teaching CV is, I started teaching Pinky, and went on to teaching everyone I know. I learn a lot by reading, and I have the sense that my family and friends will be as fascinated as I am about “The Book of Eels” or the lives of rogue gold miners who live underground for years in South Africa’s illegal mines. This is my blind spot. I’m excited to learn something new, and I want to share it. Can I be pedantic? Yes.
There are also the articles I send to deliver a message. Within the family, I want to offer kids or grandkids something they may not know, or a point of view they haven’t considered. Overstepping? Perhaps, but what if, with all the clicking and scrolling they do, they never get to read why the only safe alcohol consumption is zero?
I have sent my grandson Jacob many unsolicited articles on football and injuries. For example, “Explaining the NFL’s Latest Concussion Controversy and Policy Change,” from NPR. I have no idea if he reads the articles, but I feel better knowing I put them out there.
Recently I sent one hip-hopping granddaughter “An ‘audacious dream’: The birth of NYC’s Universal Hip-Hop Museum,” from CBS News. This fits into the noncontroversial Grandma offerings.
I don’t know if my husband reads the articles I send him daily. Most of them focus on pertinent health issues, and I feel as if I’m doing my duty without engaging in a back-and-forth. French fries as health food or not? Golf when it’s 98 degrees or not? “Why Men Don’t Ask for Directions” on PsychCentral.com. Last week I shared with him, “The secret to a long-lasting marriage,” from The Washington Post. Probably the secret is not to send your partner pointed articles.
This year I sent a few women friends “Margaret Atwood on Envy and Friendship in Old Age,” from The Atlantic, and it stirred a big, open discussion when we met in person.
I share a layperson’s interest in science with a friend, and I recently sent her “Scientists raid DNA to explore Vikings’ genetic roots,” from National Geographic.
I gifted “Want to be healthier? Hang out with your friends,” from The Post, to grandkids and kids and friends, an article for all ages.
Three weeks ago, David Brooks wrote, “How Do You Serve a Friend in Despair?” in The New York Times. It garnered a big response in letters, and I shared it with people I thought would be receptive.
“19 Sensational Southeast Asia Recipes,” in Food and Wine magazine, went out to my daughter. “Best Way to Experience Sicily,” from Backroads Travel Update, was texted to my son.
I helped launch a rich discussion with a group of women with an article from The Atlantic, “Why Women’s Friendships Are So Complicated.” We pinged and ponged ideas back and forth for days in our texts. To a friend I know is feeling lonely, I sent “How Volunteering Can Help Ease Loneliness,” from The Times.
To my kids and grandkids I sent, “The Effects of Social Media on Children,” published on the Cleveland Clinic website. Also, “How Using Social Media Affects Teenagers,” from the Child Mind Institute. We cannot bang this drum loudly enough.
In the interest of salacious entertainment and shock value, I sent out “The Corrupt World Behind the Murdaugh Murders,” from The New Yorker. I forwarded a Wikipedia article about where to find wild orchids in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary on the west coast of Florida to a dear friend. I suggested a bushwhacking adventure, which she promptly declined. For the best article about articles, you want to read, “David Brooks Announces the Sidney Awards for Best Essays,” from The Times last Dec. 29.
Last week I was wowed by a story about finding awe in nature and finding comfort in our place in the universe. “The ‘Small Self’ Effect,” by Shannon Stirone, can be found in The Atlantic.
Let’s start an exchange. Send me an article you want me to read, and I’ll return the favor. The idea is to elevate, illuminate and entertain. To teach.
Copyright 2023 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.