There is nothing original in saying that reading broadens our imaginations and heightens our sensitivities towards understanding the human condition, but never was there a better time than now in repeating it. Unless you have been on another planet or in a coma for a while, you surely must have noticed the decline in good manners and the habit of many modern parents being unable to say ‘no’ to their offspring (rearing little monsters in the process). It is asking for trouble if society ignores the increase in general aggression and a growing, more violent culture. But what to do about it, there’s the rub.
Those who care, are aware of ignorance, indifference, under-education, poverty and broken homes, and it would be totally naive to think that the action of reading fictional novels en masse would or could, overnight, solve such huge issues, but the much over-worked ‘little acorn’ story shouldn’t be over-looked. I’m all for change, moving on and re-adjusting, for nothing stays constant (except, hopefully, love) but the old, tried and tested true values should be encouraged and held dear, otherwise society will suffer.
Encouraging children to read
Capturing young, malleable minds is vital – even though some active children kick against the habit (as did one of my sons – although as an adult he now reads). Sad is the person, young or old, who misses out on the joys of the written word. Libraries and book-shops are filled to overflowing with suitable reading matter – there’s something for everyone’s taste. Add Kindle and Amazon and we are all spoilt for choice.
In his October blog, the above gentleman writes about the value of reading fiction and how lessons were and are being learnt about empathy with and understanding of the human condition through reading such novels as Harriet Beecher Stow’s ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ and Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ Going further back in literary history, no-one surely covered the ‘human condition’ with better feeling and in-sight than the great Charles Dickens himself.
Spoon-feeding some of the violence, torture and murder common-place in DVDs and many novels today can only de-sensitive the very young and we should all protect and police what they read. Saying that, I can recall reading ‘No Orchids for Miss Blandish’ as a teenager, but I very much doubt that it reached the debasing, sometimes horrific, low standards of some of the trash around today. I am all for free speech and bending rules to a point but we, as adults, should always be aware of our responsibilities to the young. There are some fabulous, entertaining, educational and humorous books for both adults and children ‘out there’: well written and imaginative, waiting to take you and your young on incredible journeys, so go and find them!