It#039;s not a perfect world, but keep trying

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 30, 2002

It's not a perfect world.

As children are growing up, we try to explain to them not to talk to strangers, that lying isn't the right thing to do, and that if they are having troubles, to talk to a grown-up about it.

Sometimes they listen, and sometimes they don't.

Email newsletter signup

But, there is one person in this community who is making a difference, even though he may not know the effect he will have on these children.

Mr. Paul Harding is a native of New York, but the children of Georgiana are quite blessed to have him volunteering at Robert L. Austin Elementary.

Every Thursday, Harding volunteers at the school, where he reads to the kindergartners and first graders.

This past Thursday, the week before Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Mr. Harding read a book to the first class titled Happy Birthday Martin Luther King.

While reading, he told the children about the life of King, and how he worked to make a difference in race relations in the United States. The children responded so well, especially when Mr. Harding explained that at one time, there were two water fountains

one for the whites and one for the blacks. It seemed quite foreign to the children, which was a blessing, and then several told of friends that were a different color than themselves.

Mr. Harding explained to the children how it was at one time, like during the time of Rosa Parks, when the blacks had to sit at the back of the bus. Many of the children had not heard of Rosa Parks, and when Mr. Harding explained about the boycott of the Montgomery Bus Company, many sat very attentively, listening to how the world once was.

Mr. Harding, himself, was a schoolteacher in New York, and moved to Georgiana in 1994 to be with his new wife. He's a very gracious man, and quite softspoken, and has no idea the positive influence that he is having on these children at such a young age.

It is unfortunate that the children of New York are not experiencing the wisdom and kindness of Mr. Harding, but luckily, the children of Georgiana are.

Welcome to Alabama, Mr. Harding, and thank you for trying to make this a perfect world.