Posted on

Maybe there’s hope

Award-winning author Tim O’Brien’s little son, Tad, saw a stack of papers on his dad’s desk and asked if the papers were going to become a book. Dad explained that sometimes books end up in trash cans because they just aren’t good enough.

Tad followed up by asking if this book was good enough, would it be a book. When Dad said, “Maybe,” Tad’s eyes lit up and he shot back, “Well, you’ll have to call it that. You’ve got to call it your maybe book.” Hot off the press this month is Tim O’Brien’s “Dad’s Maybe Book.”

I use the words “maybe” or “may be” more often than I once did. This wording is designed for things that are possible but uncertain.

O’Brien said in an interview, “The only wisdom that I have from growing old is the wisdom of knowing that I don’t know everything and that I’m wrong as often as I am right.” He says that what he learned from his years soldiering in Vietnam, and then from decades maturing after Vietnam, is that “absolutism” can kill people, and has.

Our 11-year-old granddaughter shared with me something she read somewhere that she knew I would like. It is now secured by a magnet on our refrigerator: “Hope is the little voice you hear whisper ‘maybe’ when it seems the entire world is shouting ‘No!’ ”

Maybe we’ll live to see a new era where nastiness and meanness, bullying and name-calling no longer reign. Maybe that new regime will specialize in and model consideration toward one another.

I like what Emily Post said: “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”

Will a time of mutual consideration ever come?