Educated people primarily learn from observation, listening, and reading. The human mind is designed for education. The word “education” comes from the Latin word, “educare”…which means: to raise up, to rear, to bring forth: a talent or skill which is already a potential within the individual.
I want to focus on the effects of reading. It is a process by which the symbols of any given language are assembled to create words…and every WORD represents a concept or serves a purpose in the clarification of some concept or idea. Words serve a purpose to both the writer and the reader.
Obtaining the skill of reading makes it possible for the one who reads, “the reader”, to receive ideas and concepts from “the writer”. The writer is the individual who provides the ideas and concepts by way of written language.
In a book, a reader can visit the past…any and all of recorded history which came before our personal ability to experience the effects of time…e.g. “the past”. In a book, a reader can travel to any country on our planet, to any continent, any destination….including the moon, other planets, life in outer space and even enter into “the imagination of the unknown.”
Yes, reading is a borderless opportunity for EDUCATION, but first and foremost, we must CONSIDER THE SOURCE before we engage in the text of another. Who composed the text? Are they credentialed, qualified, credible? Is this author worthy of the reader’s time and effort to navigate the text presenting the concepts offered by the writer? The word “author” comes from the word “authority”. Not all who write share text with absolute authority. It all depends on what they are presenting to the reader, and how qualified the writer may be.
Just as there are men and women who speak the Truth, there are also men and women who, (intentionally or unintentionally) use words that deceive the reader. That is why it is wise to NOT take a writer at his/her word unless, of course, there is good reason to do so.
I am very particular as to whom and what I choose to read. If a friend, who I respect or admire, recommends a particular book, I will be far more likely to engage in his/her recommendation. If the text is objectionable in nature or takes my thoughts and imagination where I do not care to venture; this book will be closed. I will do the same thing when watching a movie. I have walked out of theatres and changed television channels. I am very particular when it comes to reading. What I put in my mind is totally relevant. I always want reading to be a productive use of my time. I need to have respect for both the writer and the content.
When you CONSIDER THE SOURCE, you may need to do some fact-checking, “just in case” your writer may have a “personal agenda” intending to convince you of something which may not be true.
Reading will provide knowledge, strengthen our education, imagination, and even our understanding of any given topic. We all need to be wise in our personal choices throughout life. Just as life can lead us to misinformation, our choices, sadly, can also lead to untruth.
Be careful, be wise, but once you understand that every text has both context and consequence (education and relevance), whether it be fact or fiction, you must ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time and skills?” Researching documentation and sources is something we all should be doing. Hopefully, our grade school, high school, college, and ALL teachers, in any and all disciplines have done their homework before they engage in teaching us.
The word, “teacher” comes from the Middle English word “Techen” which means “to show”. Our parents are our first and most influential teachers. They “teach” us how to speak, to walk, to dress, to eat, to clean ourselves and countless other things. One does not need to attend college to be “a teacher”. In fact, each of us and all of us “are teachers”. The choices you employ each and every day “speaks volumes” of who YOU REALLY ARE and what you actually believe. Are you aware of what you are teaching others?
READERS ARE LEADERS….but then, you are wise to ask yourself, periodically, “Am I leading myself and others in TRUTH to TRUTH? I certainly hope so. Can we believe everything we read? Not anymore than we can believe everything that EVERYONE tells us. I wish for all of us a “Journey of Truth”.
Dr. Mary Hilaire Tavenner is President and Founder of the Friends of Helen Steiner Rice/International Writers Association www.internationalwritersassocition.com
International Writers Association / FHSR