Which generation cultivated a better reading culture; our fathers with their libraries and hard copy books or the youths with their smartphones and PDF?
For a while, I have thought about these questions; ‘Did our reading culture improve with technology or did it decline?’, ‘Which generation cultivates a better reading culture, the young people of today or our fathers in their days?’
In a bid to answer these questions, I sent out a survey to find out what a number of people think, about these questions ( Prov 3: 13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom and the one who gets understanding ESV).
The responses from the survey were interesting reads. 88% responded in favor of our fathers having a better reading culture with their libraries and hard copy books. The remaining 12% agreed to our youths cultivating a better reading culture with their phones and their portable document formats.
The reasons given could be summarized into these points:
1) The youths of today are easily distracted by the use of smartphones.
2) Acquiring hard copy books and dedication to them depicts a high level of responsibility.
3) Study habits are not encouraged through the use of PDF.
4) Youths are exposed to a large volume of information that can be consumed daily.
5) Our fathers acquired much depth and understanding on very important issues of life than youths can ever attain by glancing through the pages of a search engine.
Each point communicated a perspective on the subject of discussion.
While many may debate the answers to my lingering questions, I would like to shift our focus and concentrate on the major reason for my burden. Our topic of discussion gave birth to other questions within me. I hope that my burden passes a message and not otherwise.
- If my generation cannot successfully cultivate a reading culture, then what happens to the next generation? Did our fathers teach us to dig into the wells of knowledge or they failed to handover such virtue to us?
- Technology will keep developing over time and more distractions peculiar to each generation will arise, how many generations will use the excuse of distractions as a reason for failing to acquire knowledge communicated in written form?
- If everyone is writing and no one is reading, can we estimate the volume of information that would be lost over time?
- Since our reading culture is declining over time, it is possible that in a short period of time, it will be buried, who will then resuscitate it? Who will bring it back to life?
- The solutions to problems are hidden in the pages of books (hard copies or PDF) and a lot of people are ignorant about this, for how long will we perish because of lack of knowledge?
- My generation must be intentional about handing over substance to the next generation, and that includes the reading culture. If we depend on society to do this for us, we will wait forever. You are responsible for whatever path you lay down for others to trail. This begins with your own circle, your own family. If you cannot teach them to read books, teach them to read the bible.
- I have discovered that distractions are peculiar to every generation. I cannot exactly say to what degree they are. But if distractions will forever exist, then what should be our reactions to them? If our reading culture is dead, then we murdered it first. The truth is, while these distractions exist, some have succeeded in cultivating a commendable reading culture. I can only hope I will be one of them.
- It is possible that some prefer other learning methods and not the reading method, but what about cases where other forms or modes of learning do not exist? If vital information cannot be translated into audible formats or visuals, one might be subjected to learning from the pages of a book. While you may not prefer reading, you can help others develop the art. Information is key and should not be lost over time.
- While we cannot teach the world to read, we can help others revive their reading culture, if we are intentional about it. The aim of reading is to learn, acquire knowledge, and seek information. I advise that you do not give up on learning. Gain more understanding of topics and themes. It’s not about reading a large volume of books, but learning from the few you are able to pick up. Reading might open up wells of knowledge you never knew existed in you.
Though an article such as this might conclude with tips and tricks on how to cultivate a reading culture, this is different because I do not consider myself as someone who has apprehended.
I can only say that, regardless of whatever plan you choose to implement in making a change, ensure that improvement is made over time. Remember that the habits you cultivate today influence your lifestyle and others connected to you.
It is possible to make your own contribution and help your generation sustain a reading culture if you make that decision.
I hope I have communicated my burden.