Reading is an important activity which stimulates the mind and soothes the inner self. It has the power to transport us to hidden worlds, fascinating spaces and mysterious realms. Reading offers insights into the minds and hearts of others, proving fresh perspectives, inspiring ideas and soothing relief. This is why we read. We read to learn, to experience, to grow, to break free and simply to rest within the pages.
Is what we read important? Yes of course it is. Just as overindulging in junk food plays havoc with our digestive system, overindulging in ‘junk’ reading material plays havoc with our mind. Now here I do need to be a little more specific. When I say ‘junk’, I am not necessarily referring to poorly written pieces or trashy novels; rather I am referring to texts which wallow in hopelessness, tragedy and misfortune. The front page of a newspaper is often a good example. Again I need to qualify my ideas. Certainly I am not talking about all news papers, all the time. In fact I believe reading the paper is a great way to keep in touch with the local community and the wider world. Personally I love the tangible quality of newspapers. They are part of my weekend morning ritual. I eat breakfast, read the paper and contemplate life. The key is to read the articles critically and balance them with other material that offers ‘more’. So to return to the ‘junk food’ analogy, it is simply a matter of balancing your diet to promote health habits.
This is why I often suggest to my students to read the weekend paper. Specifically I ask them to read the ‘News Review’ section of the Sydney Morning Herald. Many of the articles in this section of the paper have the potential to act as stimulus material for the mind – particularly when you don’t agree with the stand the journalist has taken! Importantly the articles in this section generally offer examples of critical analysis or reflective writing. Therefore they offer a style of writing which can be useful for students struggling to produce written responses that demonstrate their own opinion, rather than simply regurgitating information gleaned from google.
I guess this is probably also a good time to remind you how important breakfast is. Eating breakfast provides ‘fuel’ for your body and offers the energy you need to start the day from a position of strength. Similarly, committing to a morning ritual which involves reading stimulating material has the potential to establish a powerful framework for the rest of your day. Therefore, throughout the working week, I like to read development style texts (be they personal or professional) or books about inspirational people and events. I find reading material that is positive, instructional and inspiring establishes a constructive mindset which energises my day and encourages creativity.
What will you read tomorrow morning?