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Born to Do

Do you believe that each person has ingrained in us a desire for excellence - literally to excel and do well that which interests us, in order to fulfill our greatest potential? Have you ever felt inside of yourself that you have a purpose bigger than yourself that you are gradually discovering- to do what you were born to do?

It is the reason you and I get out of bed every day- because we love people we want to care for and nurture so they, too, can discover their purpose and potential. As mothers, we have experienced knowing intimately the potential that lies within each of our children as we admired them as newborn babies. We could feel the same power within them that we feel within ourselves. We, above all others in the world, understand the reality of the potential and purpose of each living soul.

Of all of the things we might do to discover and unlock our own potential and purpose, learning- specifically reading- has no substitute. Words, passed on from generation to generation, are the blessing which allow us to transfer inspiration, truth, ideas, and knowledge deep into our heart and mind. There are many modalities for simply gaining information with modern technology at our fingertips, but there has never been a substitute for the value of reading a book. Because books allow us to go at our own pace. They allow us time to consider, revisit, write, think, deliberate. They don't pass in a flash of emotion. To read involves many of our senses and forces us to bodily rest and be still.

When we can read and comprehend well, we have the gift to learn about anything that interests us. Reading and comprehending well what we read takes practice. We only become better at it by doing it, slowly increasing our capacity for the ability to read and comprehend more and more and our tolerance for longer stretches of reading. And along with that practice comes intelligence and light. As perks, our vocabulary increases, our language skills increase, we come to know grammar without every having a single lesson in it. We know how to spell correctly. We even become more articulate as we experience how others express themselves. Importantly, we share in human experience.

In the summer of 1815, Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams:

“I cannot live without books.”

And to John's wife Abigail, he penned these famous words:

“…my greatest of all amusements, reading.”

To James Madison:

“Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not then an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital.”

And to founding leader Richard Rush:

“Books are indeed with me a necessary of life.”

And finally, he wrote:

“Some of the most agreeable moments of my life have been spent in reading works of imagination [fiction, literature] which have this advantage over history [non-fiction]: that the incidents of the former may be dressed in the most interesting form, while those of the latter must be confined to fact. They cannot therefore present virtue in the best [or] vice in the worst forms possible, as the former may.”

Books present virtue and vice before us so that we can differentiate between good and bad, right and wrong. So that we may analyze, scrutinize, and learn from the experiences of others, whether real or imaginary, which truly excels us ahead of our own learning were we left to ourselves to figure it out. We draw from these mirrored experiences as if they were our own.

So, where to start? Start with what you love. Start with your questions and concerns. Start with what truly interests you. Start with classics. If you don't have a lot of time to sit down and read a book, start with listening to the audio. And you will begin a journey that will surely take you to your greatest potential and purpose both in your own life and family, and in the world.


Just for fun, and in case you need a little inspiration outside your own interests, passions, questions or concerns, here is a rough list of where I started on my journey (which I am still on, and loving it!)

1) The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

2) The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker

3) Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

4) The Mirror by Marlys Millheiser

5) The Hiding Place by Corey Ten Boome

6) The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

7) Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

8) Carry On Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham

9) Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

10) Charlie's Monument by Blaine M. Yorgasen

11 ) Gifted by Karey White

12) I'd Rather Be Lucky Series by Jack Franklin

13) Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas

14) Last of the Breed by Louis L'Amour

15) Laddie by Gene Stratton Porter

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