I had some time to reflect, time to read a bit this weekend and think about the prompts as I was racing around. The prompt that resonated with me the most was the second one:
What is the most influential book you have ever read?
That is a hard question to answer, because there is no one book that has influenced me the most. That would be an impossible task. I thought about this all week as I transitioned from one position to another in the organization I work for, and decided I would have to share a few, maybe three or four. I could easily list 25 or more, but this is supposed to be a prompt for a post, not a novel.
From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing by Patricia Benner, PhD in 1984, it was a thin volume, and I started it with the intentions of getting through it because I had to. But soon found myself taking in every word as I read about the acquisition of skills and experience in nursing. Written for her dissertation by Dr. Patricia Benner, a nursing theorist and academic leader in nursing, it had such an impact on my understanding of the experience we gain as nurses, and how we go from being greenhorns straight out of nursing school to expert practitioners. Benner's theory and research was qualitative, rather than quantitative, and she has been criticized for that, but I have found that the model she provided describing the acquisition of skills through experience have been mirrored by my own practice and transition through the five stages she described. That particular book was a priceless gem to me as a nurse.
The Grown-Up Day, written and illustrated by Jack Kent, was written in 1969 and acquired by me for my children somewhere along the line, when I was collecting books for them and 45 singles for me. Reading and listening to rock and roll were two things we did almost every day in my house. I think that is a solid foundation for any kid, and it paid off with mine. But The Grown-Up Day belonged strictly to Ma and Deb. She was barely speaking when that became her favorite book, but after sitting in Ma's lap (we lived right next door) every day and hearing the book a thousand times, Deb had it memorized. Ma would turn the pages as Deb recited it from memory, making it appear that she was some child genius who could read at the age of two. What I learned from that book is that books have a way of connecting us as human beings. They are a way of spanning the gap of generations and passing along knowledge. As well as love. That book was the love between a grandmother and her grandchild, and the joy it brought them both is something that I have never forgotten, even though that baby is 36 now.
And that is how books have influenced my life. One at a time, each carries a message, and is an opportunity to go to a new place, learn new things, think new thoughts. To expand our minds, and connect as human beings.
...laugh, life is good. ~cath
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