For Inyang, Edidiong Fidelis, reading is life.
“No matter how busy you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self chosen ignorance” Confucius
It is obvious that most African youths sacrifice more for the stomach than the brain. If ten young people are visited, it will be discovered that only two out of the ten have a personal library and read those books as a culture. A lack of reading culture is inherent in African tradition but for Civilization to set in, priority must be given to reading. Reading has been neglected by the youths with the advent of social media and the internet. The internet is not bad, it has made life simple and fun, everything now is done on the internet, from business, commerce, banking, education and virtually everything. It therefore means that reading could also be promoted on this platform. The oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines literacy as the ability to read and write and illiteracy as inability to read and write. where then is the place for those who can read and write but refuse to read?. All developed countries are those with a high rate of literacy. The culture of any nation is influence by their literacy prowess, information are gotten through reading hence a lack of it is deformity.
A strong youth has a strong mind and a strong mind is made through reading. Reader is a leaders is a popular adage pregnant with age long truths. Information’s are obtained through books and people with information are the leaders.. Reading illuminates the mind, mould and shapen character and behaviours. Men who made impact in the world were men who read, because culture are transmitted through this medium, history is told by it, thoughts are conceptualizes on printed pages and ideas as well. There are words and ideas that could never be explained by word but with the power of pen there are elucidated. I do not know whoever made this statement ‘ To hide something from a black man put it in a book’. Astonished, I begin to consider how many secrets are hidden in those printed words at the bookshop, in our school library and in our very bookshelves in our houses. A reading culture is not referring to a course of reading but a patient habit to read everything, anything and at anytime. The essence of education is to allow people’s mind to develop, reach maturity where innovation and creativity emerge through what they consistently read and study. Reading engages any mind that is devoted to it, it is like an exercise of the brain and body for health and vigor. It captivates and captures the mind for productive thoughts. It is the force that can change a thought pattern, ideas and cause a social reformation. What George Orwell wrote on Animal farm could never be understood when told or explained orally. Reading makes students teachers by themselves, the supervisor, the mind and the brain interpretes. One may never know about medicine, Business, Agriculture or anything outside one’s discipline except through reading.
On building a better nation, a right education is fundamental. A system of education where students are exposed to all educational resources. Ben Okri quotes that ‘ reading is the act of civilization; its one of the greatest acts of civilization because it takes the free raw material of the mind and builds castles of possibilities.How could a nation develop when people stop reading once they leave school? The mind become obsolete and dogmatism set in. Our adult leaders do not think they should read, but the youths believe they can not do ithout teading, they will certainly make better leader.
The power of reading is far from knowing, it influence the mind hence affecting a thought pattern whether positively or negatively. How could we know there is something like civil disobedience as written by Martin Lurther, if not that we read, life may not be taught in the class room but definitely in books. Reading gives youths the right attitude towards life, the truth about a national economic or a political system are written in books and may never be told frankly as was written. The only legacy left by our forebears are the books, they wrote. They left but their ideas, beliefs, or vision live on printed words. How about our history, it can never be truthfully and exactly told orally except through reading them. If African youths inculcate the culture of reading, crime would be minimal because it is in books we learn the mental,physical and emotional stress of commuting a crime, a reason all criminals take hard substances. It will prevent suicide because there are books that gives hope, an enduring hope and relate the story of those who had grievous life’s irony .and were successful. Why would I give up on my nation when I have read how Nelson Mandela single handedly fought apetheid in south Africa and conquered. and Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria who fought selflessly for the nation’s independence. Reading gives hope and strength to the readers. It is through reading that youth will become interested in politics and entrepreneurship because everything is possible and make simple on printed pages.
If the youths must be strong and defeat the weaknesses of our parents, reading is inexplicable. If resources would be well managed and economic growth obtain, raeding is a necessity. Families could be a haven if and if only the parents are readers. All. Readers are intellectuals. I would propose that for all educational program at end of any session should be demanded to write report of books they had read, not less than twenty. By this our brains will become active and create solutions to problems facing the society.
All African youths are exposed to the internet on one way or the other. Even in remote areas youths are on internet mostly on social medias. They spent time chating, posting pictures and watching others posts. They rarely read anything without image, and those post should be hilarious or amusing. Barely do they read news in detail, evidenced from arbitrary comments on most post. Only few do read, and these are the readers. To this one reading is a culture, they act thoughtfully and speak reasonably because a reading mind is a civilized mind. The use of internet among African youth is enormous but for what purpose does the internet serves many?. If a greater percentage of the population would painstakingly adopt a reading culture by reading everything on social media, billboards and e books then the internet would be said to be more beneficial to the youths. The internet provide access to wide range of educational materials opening the door of development to whoever that cares to enter. There are e library now, e books and free online books that if the youth utilized as many as the number in social media, our country will become the best in no time.
A reading culture is reading as a whole, whether fiction or non fiction, biographies or autobiographies, of fiction there are mystery books, Romance, horror, self help,guide, travel,diaries, history, poetry encyclopedia, cookbooks and a whole lots of others. Fiction create empathy while non fiction communicates ideas and principles.
– reading and reasoning skill:
“Reasoning is the act of thinking in a logical way, that is natural, reasonable or sensible. It is the means by which rational individuals understand sensory information from their environment, or conceptualized abstract dichotomies such as cause and effect, truth and falsehood, or ideas regarding notion of good or bad. It is reasoning that will support a change of attitude, traditions, beliefs and institution. Such capability is only available to those who read wide and vast. With a vibrant mind, a reasoning youths can change the society inside out for good. It is human nature to reason, it is reading that fuel that engine of reasoning. With , mind slavery would be abolished, inferiority annihilated while confidence and freedom mount. A reasonable youth would not engage in crime because he will judge his action before execution, social unrest caused by youth may be absent in our society. There are book that are deliberately written to affect the mind and promote positive and those that read them are never left unchanged.
– reading and creativity
Creativity means making something new or somehow valuable in form. It is ability to solve problem in a unique way. It is in the process of reading many discovered their hidden potential, while reading a youth develop a passion for painting or writing. During reading the mind is captured for concentration in order to grasp the meaning of the book or the idea the writer is passing across. While the mind remained quiet and roam, ideas set in, images are created in the mind that only the reader could explain. Imagine an African engineer that is a youth and a reader, a youthful doctor that reads, a young teacher that is a chronic reader, a young manager who finds time to read and I imagine a reading nation, how great it will be. Doing one thing same way every time is boring, creativity eliminates such boredom. Imagination is powered by reading. It is the creating power of creating mental images that cannot be perceived by our senses nor exist anywhere – past nor present. Through the power of imagination we can paint the picture of how we wish our future to be. Most of the works of invention were product of imagination. Such as an object that flies with human in it belly. Then with creativity it can be brought to life. Creativity add colours to life and promote a vibrant economy.
Reading and self esteem
Self esteem is a factor of the mind than of looks or position. Readers obtain confidence in the book they read, their mind tells them you are the best, they act as the best and become same.Reader have high satisfaction in life than those that do not read. It is hardly for a reader to be depressed, because the mind is occupied. With an improved vocabulary a youth will comfortably communicates his idea or opinion anywhere anytime. A nation with youths that are knowledgeable and can communicate same is a strong nation. When the secret of people life we held in high esteem are exposed in books our own self esteem will mount, same with the nation. We are exactly .the way we think, when we think , we are great, if we think we are inferior, we are. It is only strong minds that will make a strong nation.
Reading and writing
A reader is also a writer. In the process of reading the mind is exercise and it releases energy in form of ideas of which the reader is compelled to write down. If a controversial book the tendency to opppose the writer come naturally, propelling writing and reasoning as well. For a reading nation there must be a writing youths. In the minds of the youths are mind blowing ideas and plans that would make the world mesmerize if printed in words. At reading is when the act of writing is learnt, and a sleeping giant inside a man is awakened. When a youth read wide he has enough ideas and vocabulary to express himself at any given time through writing. Writing of letters, memos, articles speeches and lots more.writing would be effortless and better if the youths read.
I was a reader from my childhood. Before I discovered my self I had already became something I read from a book, a rebel in a conforming environment. I got permission to use a neighbour’s library where I borrowed books and stole those I was refused. By my second year in secondary school, I had read books totalling a hundred and thirty- two books of fiction, inspiration, motivational and Christian literatures. Both evil and good, I read them. I was unconsciously moulded, shapen and re- shapen by each book I read. The first book I read was ‘The black boy’ by Richard Wright followed by Animal farm. As young as I was I had learnt rebellion from Richard Wright whom I almost shared the same story of survival in a hostile society. I hardly understood the story of Colonialism and independence when I read Animal farm but I had a btter picture of it when i was taught colonialism in my seniour secondary class two. My character was not nurtured by my environment but the books I read. When stood against examination malpractice in my secondary, it was because I believe those questions were cheap merely to cram meanings and concept. Times I spoke rudely to adults were because they was a consciousness of human dignity and right to fair judgement within me, and when those rights were violated as if they maent nothing I protested in anger. I was made by books.
Inyang, Edidiong Fidelis
Edidiong Fidelis Inyang is a 400l student of Accounting at the University of Uyo, Uyo I love reading, writing and travelling.
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