“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.” This quote by George R.R. Martin has become my motto, as well as my answer when people ask me why I always have my nose buried in a book. Throughout the years, I have found that this quote is indeed very true, and those of us who love to read, know that there are few things that are as satisfying as opening a book and being captivated by it from the first page.
In this day and age of technology it’s hard to find someone from the younger generations that enjoys reading. For them, reading is nothing more than a dull chore, something that should be reserved only for school and home work. The very idea of reading a book for pleasure is inconceivable to them, unless of course you want to be “uncool. They’d much prefer to play video games, plug in to their I pads, or simply watch TV.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against technology, and using it for recreational purposes. I enjoy watching Netflix, listening to music, and scrolling through Facebook on my phone. However, I fear that with these habits we are teaching the younger generations that that’s all there is to it.
As a child, I entered the magical world of Narnia through a wardrobe, I attended Hogwarts with Harry Potter, I was a Chinese servant girl, who later on discovered that she was a princess, I travelled with Gulliver to Lilliput, and I was rescued by a handsome prince from a tower. I “lived” all of these lives and experienced all of these adventures not in front of a TV screen, but in the pages of a book. And my heart is saddened when I think of how most of the children around the world will miss out on all of these experiences, because they’d much rather play video games, or watch a movie.
Most schools, and even parents, make reading seem like a chore. Something that must be done, in order to receive higher education, instead of teaching children that reading is, not only a necessity, but also a wonderful thing, and a privilege that not everyone has.
Whether we like to admit it or not, it is up to us to teach the younger generation the “art” of reading, or one day, probably sooner than we think, books will be rendered obsolete. Reading for pleasure, and even for exercising the mind outside of school, will become something that only “old” people do.
When I was younger my father used to say, “Show me a person who loves to read, and I will show you a person, who can intelligently discuss almost any topic”. I am living proof of that. Now, please do not think that I am bragging, or claiming that I am super intelligent, or have knowledge of every topic under the sun, because that is in no way my intention. However, I do believe that my reading has allowed me to discuss with others topics that I never would have had any knowledge of if it wasn’t for my love of books.
There are so many benefits to reading. It’s not only about how fun it is, but most importantly, it’s about broadening your horizons, enriching your mind, gaining knowledge, understanding people and cultures. Aren’t these characteristics that we all want for the future generations, for our children, and grandchildren in the years to come?
If the answer is yes (and it should be) then it is up to us to teach them the importance of reading. As future parents, aunts, uncles, teachers, grandparents, etc. it is our responsibility to help the future generations understand that reading is not a waste of time, or a boring chore, but a privilege that in many parts of the world children long to have, a tool for broadening the mind, and most importantly, an adventure unlike any you can experience sitting in front of a screen.