I have a fear. You may consider it a silly fear, but I hope to convince you that it is indeed a serious matter. My fear is this, millennials do not read. Now of course, there are always exceptions. I know some well-read and literarily minded millennials, but comparatively, they’re a minority.
Don’t believe me? When is the last time you heard or saw a conversation on social media that was about a book or author, as opposed to a show or song? Most millennials can tell you all about episode 6, but glaze over when asked about chapter 6. Still mad at millennial-me for picking on us millennials? Honestly now, when is the last time you finished a book?
Why don’t we read?
Of course, some do. And, I must say, I am quite confident that the voracious readers who observe this post will not be offended, because those who read see the need of it. I’ve never met an avid reader who didn’t try to reproduce more avid readers. So, in truth, this post is for all of us. Anyway, perhaps millennials don’t read because:
- We are programmed for 140 characters, not 140 pages.
We might not be readers, but scanners? We are expert scanners. Scanning is lazy. There, I said it. Friend, don’t settle for scanning Wikipedia about Bonhoeffer when you could get to know him by reading his own works or a good biography about him. Why would you pick the pepperoni off the pizza when you could enjoy the whole thing? You will miss the satisfying whole when you settle for a tidbit. Reading is no different. If you don’t understand the joy of reading, it might simply be that you are not trying to.
- We practice just enough discipline in thought, and avoid excess of it.
We think enough to get our work done. We think enough to maintain our relationships. We think enough to function, possibly even function better than the next guy, and we think that is enough. Reading is a mental discipline. Therefore, the simple reality is this, we don’t read because we are mentally lazy. The refusal to read is an attitude. It is the attitude that mental exertion should be avoided, otherwise, you’d do it.
Why am I afraid?
It’s evident, the refusal to take on the mentally arduous will manifest itself in far more than just to read or not to read. If you won’t read Rowling, or Lewis, or Twain, why would you have any reason to believe you will read Moses, or Ezekiel, or Luke? Reading is a mental discipline, and the Christian life is a mental journey. If we don’t have the self-discipline to open books, we will assuredly not come to the mirror of God’s Word and have the discipline to open our hearts.
That’s why I’m afraid. An unwillingness to read is a fruit, not a root. The root is a lack of commitment to arduous mental exercise. You will not be founded in the book of God if you’re unwilling to open any book at all. So, do it. Read.
Practical ways to start
- Identify your interests What kind of literature do you like? You might find as you do it, your interests will broaden.
- Pick a good book- Ask people who read. Google top-sellers and read the reviews. Go to the library.
- Open the book- You got this.
- Read the book- Go at your own pace. Start slow if you need to.
- Keep reading the book- Please, finish the book.