By Linson Abah
Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky.
Let me guess what you are thinking right now, “Readers are leaders.” Still, if you weren’t doing so, you are now. Got ya! The quote “Readers are Leaders,” is as popular as the kindergarten classic “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” At least, your little kids must have recited it on their way from school or at home. It’s ringing in your head right now, isn’t it?
Like Jane Taylor -the writer of this lullaby- who wondered about the stars in the sky, I recently was thinking about leaders and readers. I sat down and asked myself a question “Why readers are are leaders?” Have you ever stopped to wonder why this true? And come to think, I know a good number of persons who read so well (in my opinion) but are not leading. So, what’s the difference?
As I was wondering, I remembered this line “How I wonder what you are.” Isn’t this interesting? Leaders are like diamonds in the sky and your child can be one too. Well, to find out how, let’s go back to the question I asked myself. You see, this is the kind of question you do not want to ask any random person…they will think you are trying to play smart.
Instead, I embarked on a personal study. And guess what, I found amazing answers. And I have decided to share them with you, to make you become deliberate about the kind of books you choose for your kids to read. Are you ready?
To lead right, it’s not enough to read many books; your kids must read right. If they do, they will go on to become better decision makers. Here’s why your kid should read like his or her life depends on it. In fact, the life of your child (ren) depends on reading.
Empathy /ɛmpəθi/ noun
– The ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation.
Good writers, through books, don’t just share knowledge or entertain. They create a new world with characters and try to bring the reader into it. So, at the end of each chapter, the reader must have had an unforgettable experience. So, how does this help your kid?
If for instance, your child has never been to a war-torn zone but is reading about it, this gives him or her knowledge-based experience. Now when next, in reality, a survivor from that region is sharing his or her story, your child will not be so indifferent about it.
This is because; from reading your child has learned to put him or herself in the position of imagined and real characters. So you find him or her being empathetic towards others in reality.
If your child reads a story about kindness and giving, you’ll find that he or she has the tendency to do same to others. This means as a parent you don’t have to say Do this and Do that, and you end up give yourself a break.
So, buy books that teach the values you want your child to learn. Think of it as having a child that understands what it means to be happy, sad, depressed, rich and poor.
Good Leaders are empathic. People trust you easily, when they know you always view things from their own perspective.
Self-awareness /self əˈwernəs/ noun
– Conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.
In books, readers converse with strangers, and sometimes with aliens or with people outside their race and culture. But, there are instances where they meet ‘face to book’ with a character that thinks and behaves like them. From this character, readers learn and come to an awareness of who they are.
So, a child can learn all about him or herself easily. There’s nothing as powerful as a self-conscious child. There are a good number of books that explains or answer the following questions;
What are my weaknesses?
What are my strengths?
Why do I do the things I do?
What kind of personality do I possess?
Great leaders have self-awareness. They know when to fight hard and when to back down.
Self-expression /sɛlfɪkˈsprɛʃ(ə)n/ noun
– The expression of one’s feelings, thoughts, or ideas
How does your child connect with you? How freely does your child talk about the problems he or she is facing?
Isn’t it depressing to know your child is talented, but nothing you’ve said has made him or her any better? Well, you can change your strategy.
Buy your kids books that have action points. Here’s what I mean.
To teach your children self-expression, the books you are to buy for them should contain instructions like;
• Write a story with three words.
• Sing your favorite song with your best friend.
• Join a dancing group.
• Write a poem and read it out loud to the hearing of your family.
• Make a greeting card for your best friend.
I encourage you choose the books your kids read wisely. Books can strongly influence how they express themselves in speech, hairdo, and dressing or any other work of art. It can also influence their choice of career.
Good leaders are self-expressive. They don’t struggle to express their feelings, thoughts and ideas. And they do it in a very convincing manner because they learned it very early in life.
Self-improvement /ˈsɛlfɪmˈpruvmənt/ noun
– The activity of learning new things on your own that make you a more skilled or able person.
Self-improvement comes first as a form of knowledge. Well, you cannot know about trends and advancements if you don’t read. In this age, with the internet you can stay in touch with trends in almost every field of life. Why is this important?
The educational system in Africa is archaic and theoretical (no hard feelings). It’s way behind in technological advancement. So, you see graduates from outside the continent are given an unfair advantage over home grown graduates.
But the good thing is you can also give your child that unfair advantage here in Africa.
First, you must teach your kids to read outside the school curriculum, with focus on future business opportunities. Then, the need to meet up to standard will push your child to go for self-improvement.
This means you must be ready to buy DIY (Do It Yourself) books for your kids. On Youtube, you can also find DIY videos. There are many instructional materials on the internet your child can take advantage of.
Remember, what your child is taught in school is not enough. There’s room for growth.
The next thing you are about to read is very important. Don’t ever forget it.
Find out the type of learning method that works best for your kids. Does your child prefer books to videos, or instructional tapes to books?
Great leaders do not stop learning. This is why they stay almost permanently on top.
There you have it, four reasons why your kids should read. As a mother, if this wasn’t part of your New Year resolutions, you should consider including it now.
Do you have more tips to share on this topic? Hit the comment box and…