by Zeke Corder
The fabulous spring weather has everyone thinking of vacation time. School will be out soon and kids are looking forward to not having study assignments hanging over their heads. This is perfectly understandable. We all need vacation time. We don’t all get it.
Parents may not look forward to school letting out as much as many students do. In many cases both parents work and arrangements have to be made for the kids, even up to their teenage years. Simply releasing them from school and turning them loose is not a viable option for most families.
To kids it might seem that summer is the time to cut loose. There are no grades to worry about, no homework to turn in, nothing for them to learn. However, as adults we know better. Learning never stops. There is no time when anyone knows enough to quit trying to understand more about the world around them and life in general.
As such, it behooves us to encourage young people to continue learning at all times. If they do not concentrate on learning essentials, they will be learning non-essentials, which can be harmful.
The weeks away from school are a time to play in the sun, to swim, to run, to ride bicycles, to play games, which is all good and healthy. However, if too much time is devoted to nothing but playing, the return to the next school year is difficult. After weeks of beautiful summer, class time and studying is a challenging adjustment.
It does make sense to spend time outside. It does make sense to enjoy summer. It does not make sense to sit inside watching TV or playing video games while Idaho’s beautiful summers go by so quickly. However, the idea of not exercising your mind is also harmful. As muscles atrophy when not used, so you brain forgets how to learn if not exercised.
Reading books is a way to give your mind exercise even during a vacation. As someone once said, never trust anyone who doesn’t carry a book. While I wouldn’t go that far, I would say that anyone who does not read, regularly and consistently, is bound to be a duller person who knows less than someone who does read.
Books need not be text books. When an author pens a novel, he or she is putting much of their own lives and learning on the page. The fiction author must derive material from life. That material is then heavily tempered with the author’s emotions, feelings, and knowledge. Therefore, when you read a novel you learn about life from the perspective of another. The more authors you read, the more you know about other people and their ties to humanity, thus your own part in the whole.
After a long day of swimming or bicycling, it is difficult to find a better way to settle in than grabbing a good book or Kindle and sitting down in the shade with a glass of lemonade or iced tea to travel to another time and place via books. Whether you are 1st grader, a senior, or a senior citizen, books provide everyone with a means to escape the travails of life, to travel to another land, to travel to another time, or simply to hear what someone else considers happiness.
The more you read, the more you know, the more you understand, the better you deal with language, the easier it becomes to relate to others, and the less stress you build up in your own life. Even if only minutes each day, take time to read. Not only will you enjoy the time you spend doing so, also, the more others will enjoy interacting with you.
The day you learn to read, a wondrous gift is given to you, do not ever fail to appreciate that gift and use it for your own benefit.