Reading is the lost tool of personal development

Carmen Ulloa

Reading as a habit is an acquired taste. As other important habits, it is either taught at home or at school. It should also be encouraged – if not taught- at one of these primary institutions.

Books contain answers for those who have questions. It is books that can predict much more accurately than a fortune teller, what will occur in the future. Because they contain records of thousands of years of experiences, facts, cultures, religions, wars, people, and history that will repeat itself, whether we read it or not.

If our future generations are only listening to the radio, watching reality shows on television, or chatting on the phone, how can we expect to breed brains that think out of the box, or politicians that lead the country into golden eras?

The difference between yesterday and tomorrow is the education of today. Being literate or holding a high school diploma, is not enough for a highly competitive and complex world that demands critical thinking, specialized knowledge and inventions that change the way we live.

According to the 2009 U.S. Census Bureau, 79.5 percent of the Orange County population graduated from high school. Only 30 percent made it through college.

Considering that 30 percent are going to college, can we assume that these students are getting intellectually prepared for the challenges they will be facing in the next ten, twenty or thirty years? Will we be ready to provide answers or make decisions on issues as immigration, economics, taxes, education? Or will we be the cause of more challenges because of our lack of knowledge and intellectual capacity?

After all, a person who does not read is a person who does not know how to think. How can we know where we stand on those issues if we know so little about them? It is our responsibility as students, as citizens, who wish for a better country and dream of a better society to empower ourselves with books and reading habits so we can be engines of progress and development, abundance and growth and provide solutions to our community.

There are 35 public libraries in Orange County, not to mention college and private ones. They offer thousands of authors, titles and subjects for a free membership. Up to 50 books can be checked out at once. Bestsellers and new releases are offered at a very small fee. The resources are available to all. It is up to us to take advantage of them and to become agents of change.

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