I am a thinker. My mind is constantly pondering something. The subjects range from the deep and profound to the shallow and ridiculous. I have been accused of overthinking things. I will neither confirm nor deny the truth of that statement. I believe much of my thinking stems from the vast number of books I have read in my lifetime.
I have always been a reader. As an elementary school aged kid growing up in the seventies, we did not have the
luxury time waster of the internet nor did we have cable television. My hometown was very close to the Canadian border. That meant our television got four local stations and, on a clear day, a few of the stations broadcasting from Canada. That didn’t leave many choices. Not that I would have been a TV watcher anyway. I was a reader. I loved books. Sometimes I would read the encyclopedia set my parents had purchased. I read the Christmas catalogues from Sears and JC Penneys. (My mom wouldn’t throw them away until the new one came. Strange. I know.) I would go to the library as much as possible. My parents had shelves of books. To me, a book was an adventure in which I made up the pictures. Many afternoons found me curled up on my bed with my bedroom door closed, reading a book.
I still love to read. Our home contains several bookshelves, each one overflowing with books of all kinds. Some of the shelves have books stacked upon books. My husband tells people who say they are looking for a certain book to ask me–I probably have it. 🙂 I always have at least one book I am working through; most often, I have two. When I homeschooled my children, I would tell them, “If you learn to read, you can learn anything else you want for learning is nothing more than finding an interest and reading about it.” I think much of what is taught in schools is wasted time. I will use science as an example. Science covers a variety of topics–biology, physics, geology, oceanography, and taxonomy to just name a few. A typical curriculum ascribes each scientific topic to a grade level or a section of a general science textbook. A teacher then stands in front of the class and, essentially, reiterates what the textbook says. Unless one uses a particular topic regularly, what is taught is soon forgotten. When one of my kids decided to go to public school for high school, it was required that he take chemistry. He is just about done with college now, and he will obtain a degree in Pastoral Studies. I don’t see him balancing equations in his sermons. He disliked science in general and strongly disliked chemistry. I felt it was a waste of his time to have to sit through the class. When my kids were homeschooled, I let their interests often drive our learning. One year, they were all kind of into the Civil War. We spent an entire school YEAR on that topic. We read books, made recipes, colored, discussed and dove head first into the Civil War. They will each tell you to this day how much fun that was.
Reading books is a lost art. Kids now have video games, the internet, and hundreds of TV channels to choose from. All these compete for their time and hold much more appeal than a simple book held in the hands. A book, a modern-day child might say, doesn’t DO anything. Ah, if they could only see that they have been fooled into believing the notion that if something is to be considered good, then it has to have vibrant color, fast action and second grade vocabulary. (Yes, the average television show watched by teens contains vocabulary of a second grade level) Children today, for the most part, do not know how to use their minds or engage their imaginations–the tools that allow a book to be an adventure. Even if kids do find a book that they enjoy, Hollywood soon ruins it by turning it into a movie. I remember reading the comic strip Garfield as a kid. I was so disappointed when they made a movie and gave Garfield a voice–it was not at all what my mind had given him all those years.
I am glad that I grew up in an era that did not have all the dumbed down, time wasting outlets. Reading has taught me so much, the most important being how to think for myself. No commercials enticing me into thinking the way a manufacturer would have me think. If you are a parent of young kids, please show them the joy that reading a book can bring. I started out with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators. Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and Agatha Christie soon followed. Keep searching until you find a genre of literature that is liked. You will be doing them a huge favor.