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  My wife made an interesting observation after spending the day with an old friend from her work days: "Ideas about the proper way to raise children are like a religion. It's like I belong to this sect. My friend belongs to another sect. And just like you shouldn't say 'My God is the One True God and yours is a blasphemy.' it's hard to tell someone that their way of raising a child may be wrong."

  She was referring in particular to the Boob Tube and how some families have TV on all day long like BGM in their homes. "How can you talk to your children or read to them if you've got the TV on?"

  As with religion--you won't really know if you were right or completely wrong until you die (even then you still may not have an answer)--when it comes to kids, you won't know if your policies worked until the kids grow up and go out into the world.

  The other day, Cain and Abel were at their grandparents. (Heaven on earth!) I plopped down on the sofa and looked at the black screen of my TV. I thought about turning it on to watch the news, but the effort to get up and turn it on was too much. Inertia has a way of keeping you verring out of habit. It occurred to me that for many people the effort required to turn it off and open a book, instead, is often too much for many people.



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Reader Comments (2)

And speaking of getting people to read, I find teaching Japanese Literature to foreign students is like the old adage of bringing a horse to water but not being able to make it drink. I spend a lot of time selecting reading material for the course but it is the rare student who actually reads all of the works I have prepared for them. And yet, I still try.
February 20, 2017 | Registered CommenterAonghas Crowe
Vonnegut always lamented that books and short stories couldn't compete with TV. His own career writing short stories for magazines in the 50s and 60s had been doomed by the advent of TV. Reading is hard, he often commented. It requires imagination, something have been trained to turn off. It took him over a decade to make the hard transition to a novelist. He was lucky, though, he didn't have to contend with YouTube and attention spans that last no more than a soap bubble.
February 20, 2017 | Registered CommenterAonghas Crowe

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