A Good Reason to Read With Your Children

The past few days I've watched the rioting in England with a sick heart. Horrible images of misguided (or unguided) young people taking to the streets in gangs, unleashing destruction, bullying their neighbors, destroying what doesn't belong to them and looting with no thought of those they're stealing from.

I've watched news stories that try to understand why this is happening. Some say it's because of the death of a man at the hands of the police. Some say that's just an excuse and it has a deeper meaning--social unrest, lack of opportunity, the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots.

All of these things may contribute to the situation, but I refuse to believe that this widespread, social-media driven assault on their own people is understandable.

John Steinbeck illustrated in The Pearl that bad behavior causes a person misery. The Book of Mormon teaches us that wickedness never was happiness. Dave Ramsey teaches us how to use money wisely, delay our need for instant gratification and live well because of good planning and good choices. The Bible teaches us love one another. A White Bird Flying illustrates the value of people over possessions.

All of these are valuable life lessons that can be learned from books--some fiction that illustrates valuable lessons, some in non-fiction that teaches practical skills.

The rioters in London destroyed a street, breaking into stores, stealing everything in sight and leaving it in shambles. The only store on the entire street that was left undamaged and unlooted was a bookstore. Perhaps the books didn't hold much value to those that were terrorizing their fellow men.

Maybe the rioters aren't readers.

But maybe, if they'd been taught to love reading, they'd have learned the lessons of civility and love, of good and evil, and right and wrong.


Anonymous said...

I love your post. All you said really rings true to me. It is sad and sickening to see what is happening in England and all over the world. Obviously, basic values haven't been taught. LMH

Melanie said...

So true! You can learn so much by reading, even if it's just fiction. It makes me sad to see so much destruction, and frustrated that so many people try to justify the acts of violence and vandalism by blaming it all on social and political factors. Lashing out at random businesses, homes, and people will not help anyone. It never has. It never will. It's a pity that the rioters didn't have the sense of responsibility and respect for others that even a good kids' book can teach.

Scott / Lori said...

Amazing. What a sad state of things. Hooray for books and reading.