Saturday, March 28, 2009

If you’re reading this teen blog, then I’m about to do what’s called preaching to the choir. If you want to save this country, read a book and learn to write well. Reading and writing are what teachers like to call “inter-related” skills. They are also activities that, if you can master them, you can do just about anything else in the world.

Study after study shows the U.S. has fallen behind in the world as far as academics. We’ve also taken some hefty hits in how we’re viewed by other countries if you choose to believe some of the news reports. The way to get all that back is through reading and writing.

When emailing became popular (and later text messaging), some people claimed that because they are “writing based,” these activities would help raise our standards. Sorry, but writing “R u here?” is not literature or even informational beyond a point.

If you want to understand peace, read about Ghandi. If you want to understand the need, yes need, for war and violence sometimes, read Machiavelli. No text message will ever explore love the way Shakespeare does in a single sonnet. No character better personifies hate than Dickens’ Mrs. Haversham. The Diary of Anne Frank shows us more about the horrors of the Holocaust than any history lecture, and Across Five Aprils not only tells us the background of the Civil War, it also takes us into the living room of a family torn apart by it.

Reading and writing may be life skills, but the things you can learn reading a book are life lessons. They will teach us how to treat each other and everyone else in the world. Save America. Read a book.


Norm Cowie said...

A choir? I get to be in a choir?

Wow! I don't usually get invites to be in choirs. Most people, after hearing my voice ... well, let's say I don't get very many offers.

(Hee, hee. I'm so excited)


Martin said...


Not wanting to preach, but what you're saying is very true. Great blog though and thanks for sharing.


Diana Black said...

Thanks for speaking (preaching?) on this subject, Sam...

No secret communication is king (and queen!).

Teens, be smarter than I was. Don't wait till you're middle age to start REALLY writing!

I heard once that you can't be what you cannot see. I'm thinking maybe also, you cannot be what you cannot read.

Something to think about...