When I grew up, there was no such thing as a newsfeed in the way it’s understood now.
To be clearer on the timeline, President Nixon resided in the White House when I made the grand escape from my mother’s womb. In that decade, social media apps and smartphones, like the one that’s in your hand or within your reach, didn’t exist.
Learning to read is the skill that changed my life immensely. It opened up my mind to new worlds and wonderful adventures.
As an elementary school child, reading felt like a chore. But by the time I was a teenager, I had noticed that smart people read newspapers. To my juvenile mind, it seemed like reading was something that educated people did. So I began to read newspapers and magazines as often as I could.
Yes, I grew up in an era when reading the newspaper was a smart thing to do. It made one appear to be cultured and thereby gave the individual a greater sense of intelligence.
I remember seeing my elementary and high school teachers having newspapers on their desks. The best teachers were those who loaned me their already read newspapers. And the greatest educators, in my opinion, were those who encouraged us to read the newspapers and keep a firm grasp of current events.
Because of all the negative things we hear said about today’s media, it seems only fair to share my past experience.
Before I knew there could be such a thing as strong media bias and that political agendas existed, I learned a lot from reading the newspaper. I miss those days of innocence (perhaps it was ignorance). As I look back, I’m sure reading the newspaper did 3 things for me as a youth.
- Reading the newspaper made me realize there’s more to the world than just my world. I learned there’s much more to the world than only the people you orbit around from week to week. That’s an eye-opening exercise for most people.
- Reading the newspaper made me learn new words. Thinking and speaking in complete sentences became natural and made others think I was smarter than I was. My vocabulary increased as I grew in word power.
- Reading the newspaper made me understand there’s always another perspective to be understood. Everyone sees problems differently, and I learned to accept that reality. Reading forced me to think through issues from varied lenses.
To this day, I can still firmly recall the enjoyment of reading the newspaper from front to back and feeling quite accomplished.
The real life-changer for me was those seasons when newspapers weren’t available. That’s when I picked up a Bible and curiously began reading words of life. Answers about Creation and purpose emerged. I learned how “God so loved the world.” I learned about the beautiful life and times of Jesus Christ.
I still find the text of that Book more vital than any newsfeed I can get my eyes on. It thrills me, fills me, and satisfies my hungry soul like the bread of life that it is.
The text of Holy Scripture is unlike any newspaper you’ll ever read. It’s alive! Even though you and I are centuries and continents removed from its authors and scenes, this Book is more fresh and relevant than your last heartbeat.
Whatever you do, please encourage a child to read. But before they learn to read, invest in their future by reading the Bible to them. And as soon as they can read, give them a Bible and set their minds to being transformed.