From our contributing partners…
For the parents and teachers out there, it’s an obvious truth that kids today are hooked on electronics. They wear their mp3 players to the kitchen table, play on their tablets during class, and constantly have their phones out.
If they’re not updating their status on any number of social media outlets, they’re downloading the latest app to whatever device they’ve got in hand. (Originally provided by PHP: People Helping People)
Chances are if you approach a group of teenagers, they’re talking about their favorite bands, movies, or television shows rather than what books they’ve most recently read. There are exceptions, of course; plenty of kids are voracious readers who don’t even own smartphones. In general, though, electronics are more present in kids’ daily lives than books.
It’s easy to point the finger at the younger generation, but ask yourself this: What’s the last book you read? How long ago did you finish it—or did you put it down before reaching the ending?
Electronics actually facilitate the reading process for many of us: You can download a book to your tablet or e-reader, or you can listen to an audiobook while commuting or working out. But how many times do you find yourself instead using your tablet to play a game or your mp3 player to listen to music?
In books you can find your greatest mentors. The thoughts of men and women you may never get a chance to meet are set out for your benefit. You can consult with long dead philosophers and far away experts on any number of topics, all without leaving your home or even powering up your computer. By adding such mentors to your advisory board, you increase your chances for success in all areas of life.
It is important to be intentional in the things that you read. There is a wealth of valuable information and insight to be found in fiction. A well-crafted, thoughtful novel or short story can teach you more about building character and growing in life than many self-help books on the shelves. The most popular genre of the day is easily fantasy; even in tales of medieval kingdoms, enchanted swords, and fire-breathing dragons, you can glean life lessons that apply to the real world.
Be wary of only indulging in popular fiction genres like fantasy or science fiction, though. By the same token, don’t only hide out in the comedy or romance sections of the bookstore. Contemporary literary fiction might seem dry at first in comparison; but in the stories of true-to-life characters in real-world situations, authors create thought-provoking fiction that is both poignant and uplifting.
But fiction isn’t the only thing an intentional reader should read. Creative nonfiction presents a rich variety of subjects, from memoir and biography to histories and subject-specific studies. From reading a biography on Andrew Carnegie you might learn about the value of self-education, or you might pick up a nonfiction essay examining the San Francisco scene in the 1970s. Think about the men and women you most admire or the historical events that have shaped the world, then see what books have been written about them. From reading in-depth studies on great people or important developments, you can seek to embody the qualities of the leaders who have shaped the world.
If you want to be truly intentional about the development of your mind, push yourself even further in your reading: Read books on philosophy and ethics, on world politics, on spiritual enlightenment. See what the greats of old had to say about their world, then see what today’s leaders are writing about. Explore subjects that you’re unfamiliar with, not only the ones you are passionate about; in doing so, you might discover whole new facets of yourself.
In the modern world of instantly available media, where you can stream anything from movies to how-to videos at the click of a button, books are a readily overlooked treasure trove. But if you want to be the kind of person books are written about someday, make intentional reading a daily part of your life.
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“The Importance of Reading Books” was originally provided by PHP: People Helping People