A few months ago I decided to get out of my own way and start writing again. I want to write here in this space but I also want to grow my community on Instagram. I want to talk about reading and writing and parenting girls and the state of the world. As I tried to focus (something that seems to be increasingly difficult for me) I talked with a friend who pointed out something really important. She said that in order to grow a community, I had to be clear in what I was going to do to help people. This was a new way of thinking for me but an idea jumped in to my mind almost immediately. My goal is to help people realize how easy it is, even in our complicated and busy lives, to be a reader. And beyond that, to show people why being a reader especially in our ridiculously complicated and busy lives is super important. I plan to delve in to these ideas in greater depth in the future but for now…
Six Reasons to Read
Reading increases our sense of empathy. By reading a book, you can truly feel like you have walked in someone else’s shoes. I feel like now, perhaps more than ever, it is super important for us to understand what life is like for other people and reading is a pretty efficient way to do this. Just in the past month, I have read books about refugees, veterans and people suffering from mental illness.
Reading increases our understanding of ourselves. Of course this kind of understanding comes when we read self-help books but I don’t read a ton in that genre and I still feel like each time I read a book, I learn something about how I interact with people or react in certain situations.
Reading gives us something to talk about with other people. I can talk about our family all day but sometimes it is nice to have topics to discuss that don’t revolve around our daily lives. People know that I am a reader so often, when I am out and about, people will ask me for book recommendations. I love the kinds of conversations that come from these questions.
Reading is forced downtime. It is pretty hard to multi-task while reading a book. LIstening to an audiobook is a whole different and worthwhile way to do different things at the same time but that is a topic for another day. For me, I need a tangible reminder to stop for a minute, take a deep breath and just be. Sometimes, it isn’t until I lie in bed at the very end of the day but at least once every day, I pick up a book and just read.
Reading can distract us, in a healthy way, from stress in our ‘real lives.’ Sometimes I think this is why I prefer fiction to non-fiction. We all have enough to worry about in our day to day lives. Picking up a work of fiction and escaping into someone else’s life for just a little bit can often be a refreshing and much needed break from what is on our minds.
Reading models a reading life for our children. Children who have parents who read are far more likely to become readers themselves. Of all the habits I hope our girls pick up from me, reading for fun is high up on my list. By now, I have really internalized the truth that children do what we do not what we say. For every time I tell the girls to get off their phones while scrolling through Instagram on my own phone, I also tell the girls to go find their books while reading my own book. For now, they are both readers and I know that. in part, this is because they grew up watching me read.
If you need a little motivation to pick up a book everyday, please join us in the Be A Bookworm Challenge. Details can be found here. It is never too late to join in on the reading fun!