Reading opens up our world and helps reinforce the idea that we don't know it all, and that it's ok that we don't know everything. When we read a variety of perspectives or books that challenge long-held ideas and force us to defend or even adjust our world-view, we grow as individuals and as citizens. We learn that answers are not easy and the world is complicated and even the smartest people don't have all of the answers and sometimes get it wrong.
We need to do better. We need to care for each other, particularly the weakest amongst us, as we search for the answers that will bring us to a new, better normal. We need to earn the trust of our neighbors, acting in a way that allows them to truly believe that we are acting in their best interests, not just our own. And we need to accept that change is inevitable and help gently guide each other through to the other side.
When we consider the needs of the least of these, when we seek to improve the situation for the most vulnerable among us, we demonstrate a clear understanding of the interconnected nature of humanity. And in working to make the lives of others better, we create a safety net for ourselves should we ever be knocked off of our own feet. We are at a crossroads, people questioning an overhaul of the entire system. I would argue that we don't need to turn the Constitution upside down. But we can't leave people outside in the cold just because we see it as benefiting our immediate self-interests. It's time we start thinking long term, considering the human cost, and finding a better way.
Meaningful change always starts when we seek to understand those who are different from us, in beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. I believe it is worth the effort, a way to break up the tribalism that haunts every corner of American society. I don't want to see what we will become if we don't try.
As parents we are frequently told about the importance of reading aloud to our children. It's not just important to developing early literacy skills, it also can have a significant impact on behavior and empathy. But it doesn't have to stop once they are able to break out the chapter books and read to themselves. While studies and experts agree that there are additional benefits to reading to older children, including increasing fluency, vocabulary, and overall reading success, reading aloud to our big kids goes beyond academics.