newspapers

Better learn the world

As you start this week, may you take the time to look beyond the four walls of your home. May you open your door, mentally walk outside, and take in more of the world. May you be intentional with your brain cells and your precious time, and give some of them to the world around you.

And when I say “world,” I mean, the world. The actual world. Earth. After you read this benediction, click to a new tab on your browser, and go to a news site. Click to the international news section, pour yourself a cup, and read. Sip and read. Learn something about another place, preferably one four-plus digits away and would require a plane or a canoe to trek there.

Read, and learn. Find something you don’t yet know; dig deep to better understand something happening right now, somewhere else. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t gloss it over. Dig a little deeper. Copy and paste that confusing word; google it. Find out why the U.N. takes such-and-such a stance, and be willing, if necessary, to let it lead you down a path that ends at Wikipedia learning the very history of the thing, or maybe to your corner bookshop where you discover a new author passionate about that land/place/issue.

I know, you’re busy. Who has time to read about a crisis in Africa when you’ve got a minor crisis in the kitchen and the laundry room, the cubicle and the upcoming presentation? I get it. But yeah… make the time. You’ve got it.

The next time when you’re waiting for something today, read something—your laptop, the newspaper on the end table, the New York Times on your phone, whatever. Be intentional with your time. Become a better student of the world; don’t just let someone else understand all those governmental, international words. Know just a little bit more today about the world in which you live than you did yesterday. And then do it again tomorrow.

And also, don’t turn a blind eye when something settles unwell. Look deep in to those brown eyes in the picture at the refugee camp, the farmer whose land will be taken. Look, and learn. And hurt (or maybe, celebrate, depending on the situation). Whatever you do, whatever it is you read, get into it. Learn, because I know you care. I know you do. And the more you understand, the more you’ll care—and then the better equipped you’ll be to change the world.

I hesitate to give you take-away links, because I want you to find something yourself. Plus, this benediction will ring true a year from now, too, and the globe will have shifted a bit then. So go, find something. And learn. We need people who care beyond their four walls—I nominate US to do the job.

Open a new tab, and go read the international news (one of my favorite sources is BBC International, but you can go wherever). Then come back here, and leave a comment and tell me something you read.

Psst, Houstonians… I’ll be in your fair city TONIGHT! Come join me at Café Agora at 6:30 p.m., buy a drink, and let’s hang! I’d love to get to know you a little. Bring a book if you’d like me to sign it, and I’ll have a limited few to sell for fifteen bucks (but it’s totally not necessary just to come by and say hi) (they really will be limited, so your best bet is to buy it at your bookstore in advance) (let’s use some more parenthesis, shall we?) (oh, and bring your kids! Mine will be there, happy to play).

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