professornana (professornana) wrote,

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I Is for Investment

It seems as though the sermons and readings at church lately have spoken to me about books and reading as much as about faith and religion. Today was no exception. The sermon was about investment (no, it was not the annual money talk). The priest reminded us that the word investment has its roots in the Latin. There are several different definition for investment that include the following: invest (v.) late 14c., "to clothe in the official robes of an office," from L. investire "to clothe in, cover, surround," from in "in, into" (see in- (2)) + vestire "to dress, clothe" (see wear). The meaning "use money to produce profit" first attested 1610s in connection with the East Indies trade, and is probably a borrowing of It. investire (13c.) from the same Latin root, via the notion of giving one's capital a new form. The military meaning "to besiege" is from c.1600. Related: Invested; investing.

So, what does this have to do with my favorite subject? I think the definition about investment neaming to clothe oneself is essential. Yes, investment can also refer to giving money to something, but I think the clothing is a preliminary step. See if this makes sense.

Readers wear certain "clothing." It is how we identify one another in an airport terminal or a conference meeting room or a restaurant. We see someone with a book in hand (and in front of the eyes) and we think: there is a fellow traveler, someone with whom I share a passion. How do we dress ourselves in books? We are seen frequently clutching a book, especially in places where waiting is a distinct possibility.

Yesterday, as we were waiting for Donalyn Miller to arrive at the restaurant where we were meeting, I watched a family with two children, both girls and close in age, stand waiting for the hostess to seat them. each girl had a book, and that was a good thing because it was obvious they were not happy with one another. Mom directed them to sit together on a bench. They did so reluctantly. But once seated, they each opened books (series) and began to read. Within seconds, shoulders relaxed, facial expressions changed from surly to serene. I longed to go see the titles of the books and talk to the girls: I recognized kindred spirits, fellow readers.

Look around the next airplane and see if you can identify your fellow travelers. They have books out as soon as they settle into seats (or perhaps an iPod with audio or a Kindle or other ereader). My husband and I learned to carry books when we drove to the high school to pick our youngest up from band practice. It made the waiting tolerable. So, do our students see this vestment? Do we show them that books are an important accessory?

Of course, those of you reading this are wearing the vestments and making the investments in kids. Your classroom has books everywhere; you always have a book to recommend; you have spent more money than your spouse knows on books. Thanks for making the investment. Thanks for donning the vestments. Thanks for sending me students who love to read. I can take it from there.
Tags: books, investment, reading
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