“What do you know about these things?” a woman recently said in general, not really to me, just in my general vicinity.
Her prominent sneer was the first red flag. I’m a friendly gal, so I made eye contact with her and she kept talking.
“I’m looking to buy my granddaughter one of these e-readers. I don’t care which kind. My granddaughter reads a lot and I’m tired of having to buy her so many books.” The surly woman seemed annoyed that she was even speaking to me, despite that fact that she initiated our little exchange.
“Then maybe an e-reader would work out for her. What types of books does she like to read?” I asked.
“I don’t know. She reads anything. Her teacher says that she reads at a 10th-grade reading level. She’s only in fifth grade.”
“That’s fantastic,” I replied because that is truly fantastic.
“No, it’s not. I read at a higher grade level when I was her age too. What’s the big deal—what’s reading good for anyway? It doesn’t get you anything.”
That was precisely what she said, as matter-of-fact as if I had asked her about her car’s fuel efficiency or what type of lightbulb she uses at home.
My insides actually ached for a split second because I heard this woman say that. Reading doesn’t get you anything. REALLY?!!!??!?!? Reading doesn’t enrich your life? Reading doesn’t help you develop critical thinking and reasoning skills? Reading isn’t like exercise for the mind? Reading doesn’t promote imagination, which is crucial in everyone, especially children?
I replied swiftly and honestly. I owed that to her granddaughter.
“It most certainly is fantastic. I hope she continues to love to read. You get a lot from it. Buy her the e-reader and buy her books. As many as she wants.”
I know it’s the holidays and I should be learning lessons about generosity and kindness. Hopefully, I can include some of that in next week’s post. But this past week, I learned that some people are narrow-minded and often forget how their own stupidity can impact others.
Reading doesn’t get you anything. Hmmph.