AOL is preparing to celebrate it's first year of offering Journals to their subscribers, and in this honor, I thought I'd add the image of the torch to my Journal too.
I think the Journals are a great way to allow people a medium, an outlet if you will, to express their thoughts, all while encouraging reading.
A report released Thursday by the National Endowment for the Arts says the number of non-reading adults increased by more than 17 million between 1992 and 2002.
When I heard this reported on the late news last night, I was not shocked. We are in an age where people are in need of instant entertainment, and our children are being raised to crave the instant entertainment as well.
How many times have we seen children glued to little electronic box toys in their hands? And now our vehicles are coming complete with DVD and video players! An example of this is when I witnessed, during the recent local Fourth of July fireworks display, a group of young children preferring to sit in an Explorer and watch a video rather than go out, run around and engage with other children! It's that instant entertainment need.
I'm a huge advocate for saying "NO" to television (my children are lucky if they get to watch three hours worth -- a week!); saying "NO" to electronic hand held games, saying "NO" to the games you hook up to your television -- but I love to say "YES" to books!
My children, since being out of school for the summer have read at least 20 books thus far. They enjoy watching the country side pass them as they ride to our destinations; and they love to use their imaginations. I'm not saying "nah, nah, nah, nah-nah, my children are better than yours" ... what I am saying is that I'm taking a stand and saying "NO" to constant instant entertainment, and that I'm letting my children see me read. And I read, a lot! I can see, in my family, that it makes a difference.
I think that if kids need to keep their hands busy besides holding a book, then place a paint brush, crayons, crochet hook, knitting needles, needle & thread, beading kits, looms -- something, anything -- that will allow them to get creative and make something from their imaginations. Let them create something they can hold in their hands. Let them see that an hour spent on a hobby is more productive than zapping some dude on an electornic game. ...Let them even create their own book, complete with illustrations and story line, on topics that interest them. All that is needed is a piece of construction paper folded in half with blank pages inside.
And in thinking about it, that's much like what my AOL Journal is to me ... a little book that I've created that allows me to share my thoughts, and get creative.
Books I'm currently reading*:
on parenting: "A Toolbox for our Daughters" by Annette Geffert & Diane Brown
to my kids: "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien
for me: "Star Trek; Imzadi Forever" by Peter David
*This inadditionto all the books, magazines, and such that I read for my art form, Crochet.
I challenge you to pick up the AOL torch, start a Journal, and track your progress with whatever you'd like, and then pick up a book and read it. Summers are a great time for that.