No it is not really time for a sermon. Or maybe it is. It is summer and we have some young students who intern at our office. At first glance, they are smart. Very smart in fact, they look good, dress well, speak well or at least the first day they seem to. Just into their first week we find that they do not seem to be well informed about anything at all!! Most youngsters just seem to have lost the habit of reading. Maybe television is the main culprit . Most, probably listen to the news on TV and have even given up the habit of reading the newspaper.
There was this interesting article in The Hindu last Sunday in their supplement Literary Review - I shall quote some which really made sense to me. -Reading lists put out every summer by foreign magazines and websites frequently invoke — along with the perfect page-turner — beaches, dripping lemonade, hammocks, pools, picnic lunches, tropical cocktails and long siestas. No beaches for us, and perhaps lime juice instead of lemonade. And yet, how heroically we read on. But can books really help us dodge the heat? That they won’t; but I do believe they can negotiate the summer for us. Think of it as a summer project. Summer reading doesn’t have to be about escapist, dumbed-down fiction. Literature is an elegant escape, and some non-fiction is more riveting than pulp. The perfect page-turner can be anything. So, the real trick, it would seem, is picking a book that engages your imagination just enough, but not so much that your brain’s gears begin to overload. Reading is one of the last solitary activities left to us. Reading takes us deeper into ourselves, and so the escape we make is away from the world and a travel to the self — to the weather inside us.
How true. Reading should be a habit. Start the morning with the newspaper. And not just the sports or the entertainment page. Try making a habit of reading the editorial ( it is not very easy - I admit). This keeps you well informed. Keep aside at least half hour, sometime of the day, to reading. It is best to be a member of a library. We have discovered some good lesser known books of unknown authors - those we would never have bought - picked up at the library. And you end up reading a variety - rather than just one of the Jeffrey Archer or Sidney Sheldon best seller.
And make sure kids are exposed to the written word even before they can read. Just as soon as you think they are old enough to listen - start reading to them and watch them hang to every word that is uttered. As they grow older start with simple books helping them - reading along with them for a start. They should never become a couch potato ( after the previous post - I think it is unfair on the potato). It does make life very easy to have them sit in front of a TV allowing us time for other chores. But switching off the television and reading to the children would ensure quality time with the kids and putting them on the right track. It is only by reading that we improve our skills of communication.
If as parents you do not have the time, ensure that you send for the grandparents. They will do the job for you!!