Someone put a bunch of magazines on the waiting room table outside my office the other day.  There’s a Science Illustrated, a couple of New Yorkers, and a Psychology Today.

I’ve noticed that people are talking to each other a lot more while they wait.  Also, several of the kids who’ve come through the office since the magazines appeared have showed me pictures or asked me about things in these issues (primarily the Science Illustrated). We’ve had books out there all along, but the magazines have a different effect.

Having magazines around can have a dramatic effect on the range of interests in a household, the number of available topics of conversation, and everyone’s horizons in general. I forget this all the time, so I was happy to be reminded.  There’s so much to see and wonder about in magazines, and there are lots of different lengths of things to read (long articles, one-page columns, headlines, cartoons).  You can interact with magazines in different ways from how it’s generally possible to interact with books, too. You can get fascinated with something and go elsewhere to learn more about it, think about something only for a few minutes, realize why someone you know is into something, laugh at one page, be moved to tears at the next, etc.  And for those to whom reading is not naturally attractive, magazines can be an appealing invitation.

It’s like with the clippings, too.  It only somewhat matters whether anyone reads what’s there.  It’s an offering, and an opportunity.