Andrew Holmes ’16
When I was younger, I remember my father reading me a picture book that centered on the life of Abraham Lincoln. The book featured beautiful pencil drawings accompanied by a simple narrative. It could afford to be concise, for the meaning of the story wasn’t contained in the text, but rather in the meaning of its pictures. The burly, tall, black-haired boy loved to wrestle, chop wood, and take care of his family’s one-room log-cabin. However, Lincoln’s most important traits were built through hard work deep in the woods of Springfield, Illinois. I really enjoyed this short story because, prior to the time when picture book was valid to me, I played with Lincoln Logs, a building toy composed of varnished pieces of wood that fit together, almost like Legos. With a foundation, they could be built several feet high without toppling over. Building became a very satisfying experience for me.
Building is something we are missing. We need to revere the upstanding individuals over the course of our history who have built up our nation. These stories, like the one about Lincoln, aren’t contained in textbooks; they are discovered through literature. Like me, you have probably read George Washington and the Cherry Tree, and while it is just an embellished fable, it illustrates a story to young readers about the importance of telling the truth. When readers are exposed to this type of material at a young age, they learn values they can retain for life. Whatever direction you think is best for our country to progress towards, keep in mind the industrious young Lincoln, or the honest George Washington. Like people and the values that define them, all great structures whether they be small cabins or even Lincoln Logs, are built upon a foundation.