In a world of a thousand and one distractions, from cell phones to tablets, why should I hit the “off” button every now and then and read a book? Why should I bother making my kids sit down for 30 minutes and look a book? Why invest the time when there is so many other things to do? What good is a book anyway? Before we banish books off to the land of the archaic, let’s consider what good might be done if we actually read one.
- Reading a book teaches me to apply myself mentally to one task for a specific period of time. It requires self discipline to focus on one thing for a set time. There is no commercial break every 30 seconds in a book to relieve my attention. I must concentrate and focus, one chapter at a time. “But I just don’t have time to read!” you may think. Point taken, I don’t either….but what if I said that the mental clarity reading a book can give you, will make you twice as productive later? The ability to focus has far reaching benefits, ones you’ll never regret requiring yourself to learn!
- Reading teaches the mind to learn the laws of cause and affect. In a story, crises and climaxes happen because of the choices made by the characters. Following the story line helps my mind to understand that something is coming around the corner, because of the choice just made. Translate that to real life. It’s all fine and dandy to do what is best for me today, but tomorrow will hold the consequence for that choice! We as a society think we can spend as much as we want, be as irresponsible as we want, be as immoral as we want, and expect nothing to come of it….that is a lie. Every seed sewn yields a crop of the same sort. Choices, good or bad, have consequences. The more we train our minds to understand this, the better off we will be as individuals and as a society.
- Reading teaches the mind to ask questions. Ideas, concepts and ideologies are routinely presented throughout a narrative. They cause the mind to wonder, Is it true? Where did that idea come from? Do I believe that? I’m sorry to observe we are a people who have a chronic case of dull mind syndrome. Asking questions is a vital way to keep people around us accountable. At the risk of offending someone, think about the last time you listened to the national news. Did you question whether what you were hearing was the truth? Did you bother to ask yourself the “how’s” and “why’s” of what you heard? Things can become terribly askew astonishingly fast, if questions are not asked, and the truth is not sought after diligently.
- Reading teaches the imagination how to work. The information in a book isn’t being flashed onto a visual screen in a exciting and animated fashion. It’s just black and white. I have to create the scene myself on the screen of my brain. It’s effectively putting my brain on a treadmill and making it grow some muscles. Imagination is why we drive in cars, eat food cooked in microwaves, watch world events in real time, and in short, have the good life we have. Imagination is the stuff progress is made of, the more of it around, the better!
- History is learned through reading. Future mistakes can be avoided by reading and knowing history. Error can be recognized easily, if you’ve seen it before in the pages of history. “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”(Ray Bradbury)
- God’s word is written in a book. Reading the Bible is vital to the health of my mind and spirit. God chose a book, of all things, to record his words and his plan for me. The only way I will learn about him and learn what I am to be, is through reading that book. The only way my children will know the source of all wisdom and find it long after I am gone, is if I teach them to read it in the Bible. It is the one book that can show them their purpose for life, how to make wise career choices, how to make their marriages work, how to be good mothers, and so much more. Why would I want to keep this from them? It is up to me to set the example and read it myself.
If reading is important to me, I will find the time. Read while the soup cooks, read in the car line waiting for Jr., read when on hold with AT&T (that should get you a chapter at least), read while the kids make sand castles. There is time, it’s up to me to use it wisely.
Psalms 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
This is our day on the blog to refocus on what is important. You can find more Refocus Challenge posts HERE.
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