I could tell you everything will be fine. I could tell you that if we elect a new president our country will turn around. I could tell you that with only a few more laws, a few more restrictions and regulations, our lives would be pain free. But I’d be lying. And I don’t like to lie, especially not to my loyal blog readers. (*Wink*)
The fact of the matter is that our country is not doing well from a cultural point of view. We’re more violent, more materialistic, more polarized, than ever before. And we’re dumber… much dumber. It’s sad, but pushing reality under the rug won’t do us any good. We need to face our problems and deal with them. There’s no cure for life. Here’s some pain for you -
- In 1982, 18-24 year olds formed the second strongest reading group. In 2002 they were the weakest.
- In 2003, the average amount of time read per day for people over 15 years old was 22 minutes. 15-24 year olds averaged only 8 minutes per day.
- 1/3 of high school graduates haven’t read a book since high school.
- 70% of US adults haven’t been in a bookstore in the last 5 years.
- 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
Oh my Lord….
Sorry, guys. I’m the bearer of bad news, but it comes with a bit of encouragement. While I find all of these statistics startling, frightening, and somewhat depressing, I also see them as motivation to set myself above the rest. I’m not talking about “being better” than other people. I’m not a competitive person in most regards. However, when I read disturbing statistics like those above (and they’re just the tip of the iceberg, by the way) it makes me want to prove the statistics wrong. My generation is the dumbest generation, but I’ll make sure that I’m not contributing to the negative traits of the 18-24 year old bracket.
I encourage you all to do the same. Pick up a book. No – don’t read an online newspaper, or flip through a magazine. Actually read a book. A book teaches your brain to focus; something that a website can’t do. So, get a book. Another thing – (and I have a feeling many of you are already doing this) write. Write in a journal, write short stories, or start a blog. There’s no better way to learn what you’re thinking, than to write your thoughts down.
Please, don’t be part of the decline of America. Read, write, learn. Educate yourselves! Go to the library. Take a class at the community college one day a week. Do SOMETHING!
But it doesn’t stop there. At some point, we have to take what we’ve learned and pass it on to those younger than us. If you are already a book worm, nerd, or pencil pusher – pass it on to young people you know. Being smart doesn’t have to be lame. Talk with your kids, with your nieces and nephews, with your little brothers and sisters. Mentor someone. The future of our country and our society depends on it. If you can teach someone to think, you’ve taught them the most important thing of all.
More reading -
- Distracted: The Erosion of Our Attention and the Coming Dark Age by Maggie Jackson
- The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future by Mark Bauerlein
- The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr