The name Mirambel comes from a gem-like medieval town in Spain that I was lucky enough to visit many years ago. I remember thinking it was the most beautiful name I ever heard. Over Mirambel’s entry gate are latticework windows so striking that the image never left my mind even after all these years. This is the image I chose for the company logo. Later I found out from a friend that it is an ancient and universal sacred symbol known as the “flower of life.” Common across many continents and cultures, it even fascinated Leonardo da Vinci.
With this name and symbol I anointed my new venture – or shall I say adventure – publishing some of the children’s books I had written over the years. I began writing them for kids that were special to me – family, friends, and kids I met through my volunteer work. I always made each child the central character in his/her own story, and gave the hand-illustrated original as a gift. The idea for the story always came from the child him/herself, inspired perhaps by our own playful interactions, or by some unique quality he/she possesses.
My purpose in publishing them now is to extend that gift. I invited each child to designate a purpose for their book, and to write the book’s dedication page where they could explain their choice in their own words. I would then honor that intention by making a donation on the child’s behalf to a fitting charity. They were all happy to be asked. Then, prepared with a short list of questions to discover where their empathies lay, I sat with each in quest of the dedication.
I must confess, though, that most of the lessons in this process were for me. My short list of questions was sometimes completely unnecessary. Many of the kids were quite clear about what they care about. All I had to do was ask! Kids are not inherently selfish – despite what living in a commercial culture might lead us to believe. Quite to the contrary, in fact!
I also learned:
Caring is an expression of our individuality.
What we care about is an innate reflection of who we are – a combination of nature and nurture. It reflects our experiences, values, and inner being. It’s unique and personal – one of the ways we express ourselves.
Caring is under-explored and under-developed.
It dawned on me how common it is for a compassionate thought to pass through our minds without ever being put into words much less set into action. Why is that? How have we reached adulthood with a habit of often allowing our own compassion to remain only a daydream?
We all recognize talents and abilities as something to be developed. Why don’t we regard caring the same way? I came to learn that compassion is a natural ability unique to each one of us – and just as much of a gift. Are we doing everything we can do to enrich this talent, especially in young people?
Caring can fill in the missing links.
Across the vast fabric of humanity, I began to develop the picture that for every problem there is a solution, for every need there is a fulfillment, for every prayer an answer. All we have to do is make the connections. Some of these links lie undiscovered, dormant, waiting to be made. Caring can connect us in surprising and unexpected ways.
As parents, teachers, and mentors I think it’s up to us to cultivate these connections – not only for the sake of a better world, but also to help our kids reach their full potential as individuals with the talents they have been given.
For each book in this series, I have supported an organization whose mission matches what matters most to each of the kids. It is my hope these books will serve as living instruments of their intention, through which they can see the impact on the world that their caring can make.
Upon publication of each title, I intend to facilitate a relationship between each child and his or her chosen charity. What impact will this have on their lives? Who knows what it could lead to! I’ll be watching intently to see. These kids are thrilled to see their books in print, but this is only the beginning.
Meanwhile I hope you enjoy the stories, and that they inspire many happy hours of time shared with the kids around you.
© 2012 MIRAMBEL PUBLISHING / MARK GABRIELE / ALL RIGHTS RESERVED