Charlotte’s Web

My daughter recently read the story of Charlotte’s Web – a classic children story written by EB White. It is a story about a pig, named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte. They have developed a special friendship in a barn where Charlotte was able to save Wilbur from being slaughtered by creating special messages on her web.  It was a beautiful story filled with many life lessons such as friendship, compassion and self sacrifice.  After reading the story, my daughter wrote the following poem:


What caught my eyes was her second phrase, Helping Wilburn for a Better World.  While Charlotte was a small spider whose size was in no comparison to other barn animals, her wisdom and bravery helped save Wilbur’s life for which Wilbur was forever grateful.

I then asked Glenna – my daughter what was her favourite part of the story; she pondered for a moment to reflect and said it was when Charlotte created messages on the web to save Wilbur.

Then I felt like I had a moment of epiphany.

Words can make a difference. Words can save lives; words can heal and words can hurt. We must take care of what we say, and what we choose not to say, as both can just be as dangerous depending on the context and the situation.

I think we all have responsibilities to use our words wisely to help others like Wilburn for a better world.

This book actually reminded a time in my life where I was struggling to speak English. My family just moved to Canada when I was 10 years old. Since English wasn’t my first language then, I had to attend ESL classes. This was the book that my ESL teacher read to the class everyday.

I still remember the vivid memories of when my teacher would read a chapter everyday, with a stryrofoam cup of coffee in her hand, enunciating each word carefully so we could all listen carefully how each word was supposed to sound.

But sadly, I can only admit that I had no clue what the story was about then. I did not understand a word. It was only after I have completed university that I decided to go back to read this story as an adult to realize the beauty of this story.

I think I have come a long way now – that I am able to understand the story. But let’s not forget that words can be powerful if we choose to use them wisely.  One thing I wish pharmacists can do more is learning how to make recommendations wisely.   As one pharmacist blogger, Eric Christianson, has described, “a pharmacist’s recommendation can be life saving”. Check out his post here.   We can choose to write nothing as in “no recommendation”, or we can choose to share useful information for patients or clinicians.

Like my daughter said, let’s help Wilburn (or other beings who are vulnerable) for a better world by crafting useful messages on the web.

Thank you for reading my post.



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My name is Cynthia Leung and I am a practicing pharmacist in Kingston Ontario, Canada. This blog is for me to share my ideas, opinions and perspectives on how medications are used in our health care system. Note that these posts are my own opinions and do not represent the opinions of my current or former employers and / or organizations that I may belong to. Any possible case scenarios described in my posts would be modified to maintain patient confidentiality. This blog is not a platform for professional advise for patients or health care providers and the content is not meant to support any clinical decisions or replace professional opinions. Also the images are either taken or created by the author, or adapted with permission. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts!

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