I have an immense love of the written art. Books are a staple in our homes and my life. I am extremely concerned with literacy in both our home and our nation. As a homeschooling parent, one of my top goals has always been to ensure that our home is filled with the right kinds of books and that I am creating an atmosphere of adventure and learning through reading.
In a world where IPads, IPods and Iphones have given our children access to anything and everything this world has to offer, it has become an addiction that has begun to steal our children’s contentment and intellect. Where children used to fill their hearts and minds with books and toys that allowed for creative play, exploration of new ideas and concepts and critical thinking, they now fill them with digital video games and YouTube videos or social media apps that foster a need for the constant state of “having more” and are stealing from them valuable growth and exploration. With our entire nation, especially our children, plugged into screens more than ever before, we have begun to see a rise of the generation of “boredom”; nothing satisfies them or is ever enough. Being inundated with videos and shows such as toy reviews or reality television and bombarded with the constant advertisement of the next “coolest” thing has led our children to become obsessed with having material items simply for the sake of being able to say they own it.
Books are a hidden and, often times, under appreciated treasure in our world today. They fill the shelves and libraries often untouched and unexplored. They have become an object of disdain among a vast majority of children because they are seen as “work” rather than something of enjoyment.
Books and reading are vital to both emotional and academic growth in our children. They help our children to explore their own feelings and passions. They open up a world full of possibility and adventure that our children so desperately need.
One of the most common statements I hear from individuals is, “You have way too many books.” This always surprises me and saddens me for two reasons: 1. I feel like I do not have nearly enough books and 2. How is it that in a world where we value the art of collecting gadgets and apps on our phones, we have lost the art of valuing and collecting a good book?
While we are teaching children that they can never have enough toys, games or the next coolest app, we should be teaching them that they can never have enough books; they can never read too much or explore enough.
If we are wondering why we have an increase in depression and dissatisfaction within our next generation, I feel we must stop to ask ourselves if it could coorelate to how much time they spend “plugged in” and how little time they spend exploring a good book. We must ask how much technology surrounds our children rather than books. Books educate, yes, but they also provide an escape and can give our heart a sense of purpose and encouragement and joy that is currently lacking. Books can provide an escape for the hurting and the broken. They can ignite inspiration and change. They can provide a place of safety and security when our hearts need it the most. Sometimes, a good book can change the way we think or feel, sometimes they can even provide healing and peace among a world of chaos and grief.
Literacy is a struggling issue in our nation and our world. We have lost the art of holding a good book in our hands and with that, we have also begun to lose our sense of wonder and adventure.
I encourage you to look around your home. Do you fill it with books? Are they in your bedrooms? Your home offices? Do your children have access to all kinds of reading material or do you find your home and rooms to be full of merely electronic gadgets and screens?
We all want to be a part of the ways that our country grows and evolves and we all get excited and pulled in by the enticement of the next big thing but while we are a society that has become so very “plugged in” day in and day out, I feel we must take back our children and teach them what it means to foster a love of reading and books. It is time we unplug and begin to become fully aware of the crisis in our nation that is technology. These screens are robbing us of our time, our contentment and our humanity.
Someday, our world may experience a regression in technology or worse, we could face a crisis in which access to the internet could become threatened. If that happened, how would it affect your family?
For centuries children had but a few small toys and shelves of books and from among them arose a generation of explorers and inventors who created the most extraordinary, life changing things; a generation of people who asked the questions no one else dared ask and who pioneered into the unknown with courage and fearlessness. Where are the next great explorers of our times? Who will our children become?
I fear that if we continue to push literacy aside in the home for a more “hip” and easy fix of temporary entertainment or fulfillment, we may someday soon find that the last of the great explorers and inventors have come and gone.
Books are so much more than words on a paper. They are the hope of our children and the legacies we leave behind. They are the secret to taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary.
So the question should never be if we own too many books but rather if we own too few.
In Christ’s Love,