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The United States, Worst Educated Population Of Any First World Country
Reading Nourishes the Soul
Gore Vidal, a prolific writer stated in an interview not long ago, "We have the worst educated population of any first world country, and I hope you are listening, and I hope you know that you're lack of education is the joke of the world. This is not a very nice joke."
While your grandparents and parents, and mine encouraged us to read, we as parents have become the era of "instant gratification " for our children. Instead of having them read we give them video games and have them babysitted by the TV set. But what morals are we setting for them, what values are we teaching them? How will they know about their world, politics, international affairs, and even parenting , without books.
Reading and becoming knowledgeable about a subject can break down barriers, open doors, and calm the soul. It surpasses the boundaries of the impossible, the imagination, and boredom. It takes you into other worlds, other cultures, opinions and ways of seeing things.
Reading teaches children to master skills, be inquisitive, to logically interpret and infer. yet in the U.S. reading is probally the most underachieved subject that yeilds the so called masses of "under-educated, young children and adults" in our first world country.
Most parents today are hooked like the children on "TV and Toy fixation". But we setting a very poor example when we give them a toy or video instead of a book. There is a persuasive disdain in having to read, thinking about reading or even having an interes in books. Children often say they do not understnd the task given by the teacher but have not bothered to read the directions. The majority have no desire to learn, no drive, poor study habits and little interest at all in performing well.
These observations made from a teacher an a prolific writer.
We want more and we want it faster, we encourage this in our children. No wonder we are collecting the seeds of ignorance. We do have the worst-educated population of any first-world country. That to me, knowing these children are our future is nothing to joke about.
I have always liked to read. Since I was 4 or 5 my grandparents impressed upon me the value of getting a good education. They lived through the great depression and in an era when education wasn't particularly viewed as necessary for girls and women.
Reading was always my favorite subject. I read everything I could find, and to this day I still do. Politics, biographies, religion, crime, and social issues are a few of the things I enjoy. I consider myself educated on most things and can carry on a social conversation without feeling akward. I prefer reading to anything else and it really didn't bother me when the tv's switched from analog to digital leaving us with no tv for about three weeks. My husband and son were frantic waiting on the cable company, but not me. I had my precious books.
I have tried to instill this into my family but my husband hates to read and my son had rather watch tv. I try to explain to them that is is in this great nation where we have the freedom to read whatever we like without fear of persecution and that if that right is ever taken away, all that will be left is the knowledge that we have stored in our brains from learning which involes "reading".
Personally , I have enough books to compete with the librairies in most small towns. This blessing is due to the fact that the Dallas Public Library has a bookstore in the main library. The checkout clerk at noticing how many books I checked out each week suggested that I go on the 3rd Satuurday of each month to the book sale. So for the past year I have faithfully made the trip downtown to the bookstore at the library. For the amazing price of $6.50 you can take a huge moving box and fill it with as many books as you can carry. The store has books on everything from poetry, law, politics,and memories, you name it they have it, though it might take you some time to find what you want , I am able to do so in about 45 minutes , I usually average about 70 to 85 books a week. They put my box on a cart and take it to my car and load it. The only set back is that once at home I must carry them, arm load by arm load until I get then all there. I live ohe second floor so this at times can be a challenge. My son also takes his box but he and his dad quickly fill it with videos and cd's, very few books. The next problem becomes where to put them. I am currently building two whole walls into nothing but bookshelves. This does not facinate either my husband or my son.
While I can not force my husband to read, I do have the alternative with my son to make him read 3-4 books a dy or no tv. TV and video are limited to 3 hours a day, 1 which must be spent on a learning channel. I have obtained probally more education reading books than I have in 6 years of college. I am grateful to be able to do this and have worked as a reading tutor for persons learning to read.
I hope this will encourage you to pick up a book and read, there are so many things going on in the world that without knowledge it will be impossible to understand and keep up.
The Science Project
My son is 8. He is in the second grade. He is very bright and very creative. Today he brought home a science project for the science fair. I was amazed. The requirements were a hypothesis, step by step of the experiment, and the summary of what was the expected outcome and what the actual outcome proved. I was surprised to say the least. I never dealt with hypothesis until Jr. High School. I didn't even know what it was.
Anyway I thought it would be easy. I would help him build a volcano from playdough, baking soda and food coloring, end of story. WRONG!!
Gabriel had his own ideas. He suffers from ADHD and Bipolar disorder. He has a wonderful imagination, and can entertain himself for hours. He is the only child left at home. He has attended many mental health classes with me and knows as much about his illnessness as I do.
He has decided to do a project on the Bipolar brain. Yikes!! Okay, his dad went with him to a second hand store and found a wig head made from styrofoam and sprayed it flesh colored. They even put eyelashes on it and lipstick. Lucky for me it is Christmas and I could get the christmas lights to indicate the parts of the brain that are active during mania and depression.
We bought playdough, lights, and rubber tubing to show the chemicals of the brain, by filling them with colored water. The colored lights were spliced to show the brain activity of the brain in mania, depression, and normal modes. he read the information in the science book and the notebook from the mental health classes. He knows how to label each part of the brain, and what function they perform. We are very proud.
The project is due on the twenty-fifth of January. He is excited, we are nervous, his teacher is amazed. He is in the second grade and reads at the third grade level. But persons with manic-depressive disorder are known for their creativity.
Who knows, maybe we have the next Eienstien.