Reading shapes our worldviews and the way we interact with others. Whether a story is fiction or non-fiction, there is endless opportunity to flex imagination and critically think when we read. It seems obvious, right? In a world full of technology and limited time, reading can get put on the back burner. Just like other elements of life, we have to prioritize what's important to us and how we want to spend our time. One thing I try to prioritize, though I'm not always successful, is reading.

There's too much material out there for us to consume it all, but in a world that's full of confusion, doubt, and uncertainty in social and political contexts, reading provides us lenses through which to view the world. I think it's a power we underestimate. Reading can change your mind. We should be consuming as many fiction and non-fiction book or news article with valuable material that we can get our hands on. I will admit that, of course, there are books that have no substantial material. Reading allows us to consume a variety of information and consider multiple perspectives. To make sense of our world and improve it, we have to be critical consumers of messages and ideas, but we can only do that if we're exposing ourselves to new ideas.

One of the best examples I've had of reading opening my eyes to important values that are still relevant is the "Harry Potter" series. "Harry Potter" taught me the value of empathy, to treasure friendship, the injustice that stems from bigotry and prejudice, and the power of love. As I re-read the series, again and again, I read about the horrors of Voldemort and his followers targeting the Muggle-borns and asserting that purebloods are better than everyone else simply because of their blood status. I read about the Ministry of Magic and their response to Voldemort come back to power, which is to deny and ignore. We deal with prejudice and distrust in government today, too. There's a connection to real life, which is why so many people connect with the particular series. Books like "Harry Potter" serve an entertainment purpose but also are full of life lessons. There are also news articles and books that contain real stories and information that serve other purposes. In consuming the material, we gain knowledge. We gain perspective.

Reading requires thinking. Reading allows our mind to make connections between our reality and the reality we encounter in a book. Reading helps us connect with real people we've never met who help explain why we're experiencing what we're experiencing in our lives.

In reading, you lose ignorance you have to things you don't know are happening or exist. Your eyes are opened. There's so much to gain from reading. I hope that reading helps you fight the power, even a little bit. I'll call that a win.