Monday, December 6, 2010

Love for Books is a Great Blessing

Books are no longer gifts young people find attractive. Spending one's leisure time reading books, when there are so many other activities available today, has pushed this once popular pastime into the background, and not only for children. Chesterton once said "There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read." The tired man, to "kill time," will more easily do so in today's world without picking up a book to read because of the many other options provided by mass media. 

This  past month, Korean high school graduates took their college entrance exams. A  columnist for the Catholic Times, previously a teacher for many years, recalls her own anguish when faced with that ordeal and offered up some fervent prayers for those parents and students about to take the test.

How wonderful it would be, she feels, if we would find more time for reading. For her, sitting down with a good book is a great pleasure; she has tried to encourage others to do the same with little success.

She believes that  children who have made reading a habit from a very early age will be more successful in the college entrance exams. They will have been exposed to a wide spectrum of knowledge, and will know how to maneuver within this world. Having become familiar with the power of thought, and honed skills of comprehension, they will have acquired not only the  ability to write well but the confidence to compete with others.

The advantages of reading are many; it can be as close and comforting to us as a friend when one does not have the health to travel or indulge in the activities we once enjoyed at a younger age. How do we get children to see the benefits? A good way would be seeing their parents reading books more often, and by parents reading to their preschool children when they are not yet capable of reading on their own. Setting up a welcoming atmosphere for book reading in the home cannot be overemphasized.

Another benefit of reading: readers are not afraid of being alone, in fact, they don't ever have to be alone as long as they can pick up a  book and read. They have so many books they want to read that when one is read, they are anxious to start the next one. The columnist mentions that when she hears from her friends,  they feel lonely and life is dreary it's time to send them a book to read. However, most often she hears that they have read a few pages, and then their eyes begin to give them trouble, and they get a headache. If only they had realized at a younger age the joys of reading, they would never lack the presence of a great friend in their older years.

She ends her column by telling us she spends date-time with God by reading his Scriptures. Reading spiritual books and works of literary value is a source of great joy to her. She regrets that she has not been able to share this joy with many of her acquaintances.

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