I had the chance to reflect on my early studies in Japan recently, thanks to the terrific Japan Society of Boston. These reminiscences led me straight back to my first class in Japanese literature, held at the top of a hidden staircase, in the smallest classroom in the tallest tower on campus. Here in this hideaway, our professor made us an offer: we could be a secret society of readers, meeting in the attic to discuss books unknown to most others around us.
Oh, dear friends, this idea sent me swooning! A secret society of readers!
It turned out I loved the books we read and the worlds they opened up for me, but it was Professor Morley’s invitation that really drew me in. This invitation is what led me to study in Japan, which is what led to my first job, which is what led to my current profession, and my current life.
Friends, we are surrounded by arguments and lectures and commands and suggestions, some sensible and some silly, some inbound and some of our own making.
What if we focused less on the lecture and more on the invitation?
Everything could change.
I’m lucky that the greatest teachers in my life have been my parents. They trusted me to head off to Japan at 19 years old, knowing zero words of Japanese and zero people within 5000 miles – something that seemed simple at the time, but amazes me more as I get older. On this Fathers’ Day, let’s celebrate all who father us, with honor and patience and care.