There’s a giant stack of library books sitting by my bed, waiting to be opened or completed, as the case may be. This has become an interesting season of life, in which I keep giving myself projects, deadlines, and invented assignments.
No one knows except me of course. That’s part of the fun of it- taking in enormous amounts of information daily then stewing on it for weeks on end. I’ve always loved learning, and now, without school or courses cramming any assignments down my throat, I’ve been learning more than I have in years.
They say singleness gives us more time. If that’s true, then I guess I’ll make the most of it!(James at his school last summer in Uganda. As he showed me his classroom, he was practicing the hula hoop on top of a desk. Classic.)
A few months ago, James told Mom he felt like something clicked at school. Suddenly, after months of staring at numbers like a foreign language, math made sense. He could suddenly accomplish homework on his own, and he liked it! This was a huge moment, especially considering his background… After only being in school 2-3 years, in a school where basics were hardly a focus, to understand math is no small feat.
In a similar way, lately I have felt breakthroughs in reading. I’ve always loved it, but now when I read stories or news articles or opinion pieces I see something deeper. It’s a sensation similar to those Magic Eye puzzles. At first it’s all just abstract colors, but upon further focus, depth and shapes begin taking forms of landscapes or iconic photographs. I can read the most basic of novels and find some applicable purpose and challenge to humanity.
The more I read good books, the more I see people. It changes my entire perspective. Actions always follow beliefs and paradigms, which consequently are shaped by how we fill our minds.
It’s like I’m suddenly seeing education as what they told me it was all along: a gift.
Strange, isn’t it? Most of the things those parents and teachers once told us turned true at one point or another. Eating the food on my plate didn’t necessarily help those “starving kids in China,” but I think reading a handful of good books just might help those who’ve never had the opportunity to read.
When I read Malala’s story she wrote of girls who were not allowed to learn to read. This is the present-day world she’s talking about. That threw me. Remember the awful American slavery? Remember how the slaves were not just oppressed physically and emotionally but also stripped of their chances of a future? They weren’t being taught how to read or write. Their dignity, and certainly any hope of a way out, was kept far from their grasp. This is still happening today, ever widening the gaps between hope and despair.
I don’t think education will change the world; I think people compelled by the love of Christ will change the world. But without education, and without reading specifically, how will the world be seen?
PS- What’s So Scary About Smart Girls? by Nick Kristof