I was appalled to watch a recent TV quiz show and see participants unable to answer elementary geographical and historical questions. Not those that required special study but basic things like the dividing line between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres (the Equator), or the largest ocean (Pacific). Often nobody felt confident enough to take an educated guess. Yet not long ago they could not have gotten out of 6th grade without knowing such facts.
This observation convinced me to adopt my new policy when giving gifts. Previously I had given folks gift certificates or cash. But my new policy is to only give books as presents. Some feel ebooks can serve this purpose. I think reading from a screen doesn’t have the same impact as reading from the printed page where you can go back as often as you want until you’ve fully absorbed the content. But the most important thing is to encourage reading in any form. I buy my books from Abe Books and use Groupon promo codes to make my purchases at substantial discounts. They offer a wide range of books of all types, that are brand new, rare, and even collector’s items. They have content that will stimulate the recipient’s mind and thought. They should be curious and motivated to read further on their own and Abe has just the selectioin to make that happen. Children’s books start at just $1, so there is something to fit every budget. And Abe Books offers free shipping to many parts of the world, so if you’re interested in gifting books, now would be the perfect opportunity to shop Groupon so you can make your purchases for less.
It is best when people read a diversity of subjects. Many often say that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” however, the fact is that no knowledge at all is pure disaster. It is better to have many books and read them often than to have machines that provide only what one wants to hear and nothing else. Declines in national reading and learning scores can be reversed if more time is taken to encourage reading in the home, exercising in fresh air and learning to play an instrument. That and self-discipline go a long way toward keeping young minds engaged and stimulated to grow.
Get the youth in your family or neighborhood a book; sit and read with them and make an investment in our future. Challenge them to read about a new country or city every month, with the goal of visiting that place in the future. You can put the world in a child’s hands when you give them a book.