There are times when I have conversations with my sons about life, or certain mysteries or share wisdom from observations I’ve gathered over my years. I communicate in a way that they can understand and relate it back to their journey so that they can have a reference and a light towards the path they will chose. There are times when after listening to me explain a thing to them they say something like, “Wow daddy. I know what your talking about and I have always thought of it or wondered it but couldn’t explain it. You hit it on the head. Now it makes sense to me.” It is at those times when I know my sons really look up to me for having a certain amount of wisdom. They find me totally relatable and relevant, even necessary.
This is the exact same feeling I get when I listen to the words of Sidney Poitier. In his first book, “The Measure of a Man,” he talked about not only his life which is fascinating to say the least, but also his beliefs and how he’s come to realize the mysteries, the pleasures, the heartaches, the lessons of life. This is a truly wise man who has a lot to share.
This sharing continues with his second book, “Life Beyond Measure, Letters To My Great-Granddaughter.” In it he writes a series of letters to his great-granddaughter telling the story of his life and the lessons he’s learned – indeed the lessons he is still learning and those questions he may never be able to answer.
This book is not about his movies nor his career though he mentioned it very briefly at times in some form or context. Instead, Poitier takes a critical look at his life and honestly shares the greatest faults, pains, failures, triumphs and treasures from a man who couldn’t read when he came to America from Cat Island, Bahamas. In a kaleidoscope of subject matters such as family, faith, traditions, fear, doubt, desperation, god, addictions, science, technology etc., Poitier deeply examines the issues of life and does not tell his great-granddaughter what to do, but instead gives her a window to forsee what her journey may be like – and gives her the freedom to decide for herself how she will view each of these subject matters.
I don’t want to say too much about this book. It’s difficult to put my words together in a way to give justice to what I am receiving in my spirit as I listed to every word. I will say that I am truly enriched and there has been an illumination on things deep in my soul that were hidden, or dismissed because I couldn’t dig them all out by myself. Now I am able to at least tap upon a little. Additionally, my own level of sense of honor and integrity have increased since I started the book. There are already things I do differently, certain standards I don’t allow myself to accept, little foxes if you will that I am weeding out – things that only I know about. What a role model. I am so thankful that he shared with all of us what he’s shared with his family.
I suggest this book as well as his first to anyone on the learning path.
As much as I love to read the words on the printed page, hearing Poitier speak in his own words, with his majestic teaching voice full of compassion and adventure gives the experience that much more.