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Books for Youngsters?

Books for Youngsters?

Hello and good day!

The media we consume affects us. It changes us. It can make us better or it can make us worse. Media encompasses a lot of different formats.

For me personally, the most impactful form of media has always been the written word. Books touch me in a way that nothing else can.

Everybody learns differently of course, and each person will have their own preferred way of picking up information.

Some watch videos.

Some listen to podcasts.

Some will do better with live lectures or brainstorming sessions.

I learn best by reading, and I read a lot, one or two books a week on average. Other people probably learn just as much by watching Youtube videos. But I don't do too much of that. I usually have my face in a book.

Anyhow, as of late I've read a series of books that have allowed me to develop a synthesis about something. Here are the books. Try to guess what might come from this.

The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway

The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance - Angela Duckworth

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams - Matthew Walker 

Eat to Live - Joel Fuhrman MD

Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable - Patrick Lencioni

The Power of One More - Ed Mylett

In His Steps - Charles Sheldon

What Jesus Said - R.A. Devine

There were a few more in there, but they don't come to mind at the moment. I read Hemingway and Salinger to revisit some of the books we were required to read in high school.

I was reminded how much I truly love Hemingway's writing. Nobody has perfected a style more suited to embed ideas and feelings directly into my mind and heart than Hemingway.

However, we were assigned to read The Sun Also Rises in high school. I read Old Man and the Sea later on, when I was a senior in college.

That is a shame.

The Sun Also Rises is a depressing book. As is The Catcher In The Rye. They are great books, but real downers. Angst is almost an additonal character in these books. And angst is not something that needs to be amplified in young folks. Looking back, I am quite certain that both of these books contributed to the substance abuse issues I battled against as a young man.

This got me to thinking. We shouldn't be assigning this type of literature to young people. It is likely to accentuate the behavior we are trying coach them out of. Darkness and drinking and wandering aimlessly.

These are not good themes for youngsters.

The more I thought about the books we were assigned in school, the more it became clear how certain bad behaviors were reinforced by the material that was supposed to be enlightening me.

Very ironic.If the traditional English class literature is not made up of the proper curriculum, what should it be replaced with?

Here is what I think.

All major studies show that the keys to long term happiness and contentment are health and relationships. I know that for me, when I am healthy and my relationships are strong, I feel great.

When I am sick, or eating bad, or not sleeping enough, or when I am fighting with loved ones, I feel awful.

That being the case, it sure makes sense that a ton of literature on health and relationships should be at the top of the list.

What about work and professional success? Outliers gave us the famous 10,000 hour rule. It takes 10,000 hours to master a skill and the younger you start, the younger you will become an expert.

Grit by Angela Duckworth shows that dusting yourself off after failure to keep working towards your goals is what separates champions from also rans. Grit also shows that in order to keep dusting yourself off, you need to choose a goal you are passionate about.

The Power of One More gives you strategies for success so that the work you put in will be more effective and help you achieve the best possible results. In His Steps was published in 1896 and is one of the best books I have read in a long time.

I'm not a particularly religious person. But when I do think about religion, I am drawn to the sermon on the mount in the book of Matthew. If I were to become religious, I'd probably be a Christian according to the sermon on the mount.

We'll see what happens.

Anyhow, In His Steps is a novel about a bunch of people who decide to live their lives according to the question "What would Jesus do?". The author shows us what a person would have to do and how'd they'd have to live if they were to strictly do what Jesus would do.

It was fascinating to think about what that would mean. I realized that this is a very simple and powerful tool for governing your behavior. When you ask yourself a question like that, it makes you stop and think before acting.

It is the kind of tool that would really help a youngster make a good choice. It doesn't have to be Jesus obviously. It could be any historical figure who a person admires.

What would Martin Luther King Jr. do? What would my grandpa who I looked up to do? After I read In His Steps,

I picked up the book What Jesus Said. This book pulls out only what Jesus actually said. It is just the words that Jesus spoke and nothing else. I figured this would help me answer the question about what Jesus would do in a particular situation, and it has.

Here is the point of all this.

Instead of teaching kids that the world is hopeless, so you might as well drink and try to escape life's hardships, it is much better to teach a lesson of hope.

If you live right, take care of yourself, learn how to interact well with your fellow human beings, and focus on becoming great at something you are passionate about, you can live a good and happy life. A person decides for themselves who they want to be.  

You can shape the world through your actions. After that lesson is taught, we should be giving youngsters the information and tools they need to make the world what they want it to be.

Just because something was influential or great art doesn't mean that it is well curated for a certain time in a person's life.

I'm running out of space and steam for now.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!