One of funny things about this modern world of ours is all its options. There are so many choices that at times one doesn’t know what to choose. As a person that has lived between two different countries most of my adult life I can really understand the problem with being overwhelmed.
I remember the first time my wife and I entered a grocery store in America after living for three years in West Africa. Here was the plan: drive to the store, go into the store, find the pickles, hamburger buns, and a few other things needed for a cook out, buy it all, and go home. Sounds simple, right? Yeah.
We found the pickle section. Have you ever really stopped to look at the multitude of pickles they sell in America? Dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, kosher pickles, organic pickles, sour pickles, baby gherkins, pickles and hot peppers… and that’s not to mention all the types of cuts: wholes, spears, chips, slices, deli-style, stackers… it goes on and on. I know this sounds strange, but all those options just pushed us over the edge. There was my wife, a totally reasonable adult woman crying in the middle of the aisle. There were just too many options to decide. Being the sensitive guy that I am, I just grabbed the first jar I could get my hands on and rushed my wife out of the store before we could make another scene. When we finally got out to the car we both decided it was probably best not to go back to the grocery store for a while.
People believe that options are empowering, but so very often they are simply overwhelming. Too much can be more paralyzing than too little.
I remember feeling this way when we had our first child. I wanted my kids to read. I wanted my kids to have shelves of great books, but I hadn’t grown up in a bookish home. I knew Doctor Seuss and a few other classics, but I felt overwhelmed the first time I entered a book store. Everything looked so magical and all the covers looked so compelling. I didn’t have a catalogue of memories to guide me. Where should I start? How could I choose?
Fortunately, I had help—my wife. She’s great. I think she’s a book goddess. She seemed to know everything about books. It was like having my very own personal book guide. Having that little bit of guidance really helped me get started. By myself I probably would have frozen. I would have gotten that deer in the headlights look, grabbed the first book the salesman handed me, and left feeling frustrated and discouraged. Gratefully, that’s not what happened.
When there are too many voices calling for our attention, when there are so many options to choose from, it’s nice to have a little help. That’s what I hope to do for you today. No, I can’t hire out my wife as a personal book assistant, but we would like to pass along a few book suggestions.
I personally always like to hear of something new, so, I will start with a list of books more recently published:
There is no way to list all the ‘old-y but goodies’. If I did, then we would be right back into the ‘too much to choose from’ situation. So I would like to give a short list of a few lesser known, but just as valuable, older story books.
Less can be more if we have a few of the right things. Hope this book list helps you to that end.
Now he is a missionary in West Africa, and instead of robbing the rich to feed the poor, he is sent by the rich to reach the poor.
He and his wife Patty write a blog at http://www.johninghana.blogspot.com/