When I was at Junior school, which I think is now known as year 4 to year 8 but I could be wrong, I was fortunate enough to have an inspirational teacher. I have had several in my school life, but this man was special, he was the first and he really cared about developing the young minds he had control of. He was the Deputy Head Master and perhaps that gave him more confidence to do things a bit out of the ordinary, though whatever the reason he did something special for about three of us at the end of our time with him.
It was the first day of the summer holidays after my last day at junior school (1977 – Wow!), and the last time we would see this man, but what he did for us remains with me to this day and possibly changed my life more than I could ever known it would at the time.
I grew up in Bury, Lancashire, England which is about 10 miles north of Manchester, and it was to Manchester we were to travel on that day. Mr Pickup, our teacher, had arranged that we would go to a library, which on the surface does not sound all that great for an 11 year old. However, this was no ordinary library, it was and still is, the oldest library in the English speaking world.
Sir Humphrey Chetham (1580 – 1653) was a Manchester textile merchant, and when he died he made provision in his will to give money for the building and stocking of a public library. He did this not only because of his philanthropic nature but also, and perhaps primarily, because he had heard the government were going to take all his money upon his death (how things have changed!). Chetham’s Library was founded in 1653, after his death, and they stocked it with books over the following years.
On the day of our visit we were met at the entrance, a big old oak door, by one of the library staff and lead in to what I can only describe now as a scene from Harry Potter. There were shelves upon shelves of old, very old and very very old books, some sections where behind locked gates so you could not get to the precious volumes. Most however where on shelves that you could get close to. They where all large dusty leather bound books which looked like they should contain spells or early versions of the bible.
I was in absolute awe at the wealth of knowledge that lay before me but frustrated at the lack of access. I could smell it but I wanted to read it. We were shown some of the volumes by the library staff but my interest and enthusiasm just increased with every book we saw.
From that day forward I have had a great love of books, I just love the smell of books both new and old (they both have a different yet distinctive smell), I love the way they feel, the texture of the paper, the designs of their covers and most importantly the information they contain and the promise they can offer…. though only if you read them!
I used to, like many people, think that just by buying the book caused you to have the knowledge, but NO, reading by osmosis does not work you really do have to put the time in and read every page.
I loved books so much at one time in my life that I used to try and read them without folding the pages or without opening them too wide and breaking the spine. I could never understand people that would write notes in books or mark particular pages. Today I am somewhat different, I now see books as tools to be used, they can be bent, folded, written in, and most importantly read and understood. To read a book and not act out what it is offering as wisdom means you may as well have never read it. Oh I am not suggesting you read and accept every book as well constructed and informed wisdom, but when you just know it is, then you MUST act. Roger Hamilton (wealth dynamics) says ‘To know and not yet to do is not yet to know’. Information is power, or so the saying goes, but actually information is only potential power, unless you act it is impotent!
Earl Shoaff taught the late great Jim Rohn that to be successful you need to read books. “Build a library” he said, and “read the books”. All successful people have a library, so much so that every expensive house has a library in it, but maybe that is just a co-incidence. Wherever you live make some space and build a library, however small.
Today I have read hundreds of books, eBooks, and Audio programs on self help, personal development, business, creating wealth, inspiration, leadership, hypnosis, NLP, and many many more subjects. I believe this is due in no small part to the teacher that came when I most needed it, Mr Chris Pickup, he made me think, and that made me read, and it changed my life.
Thank You Mr Pickup