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Friday, November 03, 2006

What are you Reading? Friday

I finished To Own a Dragon yesterday by Donald Miller and I’d highly recommend the book to people who grew up without a father present.

In one chapter called “Education: Jordan and Mindy’s Dog,” Miller deals with the fact that without a father around, he was never really pushed acedemically as a young boy when in school, so he developed a “just get by” attitude. He had no idea that anything else existed. At the age of 20, he got turned on to poetry by a friend and it opened up the world to him.

Here’s what he said:

“Something important happened to me when I read Emily Dickinson. I fell in love with books. Some people find beauty in music, some in painting, and some in landscape, but I find it in words. By beauty, I mean the feeling you have suddenly glimpsed another world, or looked into a portal that reveals a kind of magic or romance out of which the world has been constructed, a feeling there is something more than the mundane, and a reason for our plodding.”

He went on to make this observation:

“All leaders read, and there are almost no exceptions.”

And finally this:

“The latest statistic is that the average American watches 1,456 hours of television a year but only reads three books. So if it’s true that readers are leaders, and the more you read the further you advance, then there isn’t a lot of competition.”

I’m not one to look down my nose at a culture that seems to be becoming more aliterate by the day. We have more options for entertainment and more visual stimulation than at any other point in human history—so of course our attentions are divided. I suspect that if you gave any other generation such options, they would have been just as distracted as we are.

All the more reason to be gently nuding the next generation to read, and not only nudging, but showing them the benefits. The reading bug is caught when aliterate people see readers engrossed in books or when  they hear us talking about the joy or wisdom we received from a particular book. If the next generation never sees us reading, then the chance of them becoming readers isn’t high.

So do tell—what are you reading this week? 


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