Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lifetime Student

I love reading. I like to think that I always have. My mom said my favorite reading material as a toddler was the Sears Catalogue. I would flip through the pages and point to things asking what they were and expanding my vocabulary. I remember when I started reading chapter books like Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables and how I just couldn't put them down. Reading transported me to places outside of my time and experience. I would read long into the night, often hurriedly putting my book under my pillow and faking sleep as my parents climbed the stairs to go to bed. I still have a hard time putting a good book down. Just one more page, one more paragraph, one more sentence are guidelines that I can never seem to stick to. Chapters later I am still awake and reading.

Over the years I have read many books, both fiction and non-fiction. Reading books has been a source of pleasure, knowledge, wisdom, and challenge in my life. Without reading I would never have had the desire to write. One of the regrets of my early adulthood is that I didn't go to university after I had finished three years of bible college. I didn't really know what I wanted to study and pour my energy into so I opted to work and pursue some rock star dreams. The desire to learn and be challenged was inside of me then and I have to say even more so now. Reading has given me an education that has been tailored for me. I love reading books that challenge my small ideas and mindsets. I love reading books that awaken my passion for people and causes. I love reading books that call me to something more than what I currently limit myself to. I love reading books that make me think about faith and God in a new light. I love reading books that teach me about places that I have never been. I love reading books that help me learn about different cultures and history. Reading has expanded my knowledge as well as my awareness of the things that I have yet to discover, my ignorance.  My greatest educator has been found between the covers of a book at the fraction of the cost of formal education.

Reading has not offered me a job, a degree, or letters behind my name, but it has enhanced the person that I am becoming. Many people leave university and never again crack the spine on a book. This is so sad to me. Cramming books down people's throats because they need to read them for an assignment or a course does not instill a love of learning or knowledge. I read something recently that promoted the idea that leaders are readers. I think about the kind of person that I want to follow and they are people who don't necessarily have all the right answers but who are asking the right questions. As I alluded to previously, knowledge isn't about being right or having concrete answers but about realizing that there are still things to learn and to educate yourself about, the things that you are ignorant about.

I am assuming, that because you are reading this blog right now that you value reading and learning. On this assumption, I would like to challenge you to read books, blogs, newspapers (anything you can get your hands on) that expands your knowledge and makes you ask questions. Become a lifetime student, knowing that there will always be something else out there to discover. Get a library card; it's unlimited access to thousands of books with little cost. Promote reading to children, it's time well invested on the leaders of the future.

Question? What book has influenced you the most and in what way?

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