Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What a Difference the Books Made

I had never been one of the popular kids, and in grade school had been the class victim, constantly teased and made fun of because I was skinny and had asthma. That's why I was a little nervous about attending a high school reunion. When I finally went to one, to my amazement, several people said they remembered me as brave.
What? That didn't make sense at all. I'd been terrified most of the time.
But afterwards I remembered a number of incidents when I had stood up for what was right even though it had been risky to do so.
Why had I done those things?
Because that was how the protagonists in all the books I read behaved, so it never occurred to me that there was an alternative. Of course I couldn't just stand by and let injustice be done even if I might get in trouble or even hurt as a consequence.
It's really true that reading helps to develop character. Of course all media have that sort of influence on kids. It's very important to let them experience lots of stories where good values are demonstrated whether in books, TV, movies, on the net or anywhere else.
The power of story is great, wherever it is found.

4 comments:

Brad said...

Excellent point on the impact of books, Jan. I wonder what we'll be seeing in the next 20 years in terms of character development as a result of a global generation reared on Harry Potter. There is so much in that series about standing against evil, advocating for those who have been marginalized, and breaking through the rigid social structures built by centuries of prejudices. Could become an even more interesting world ...

Janet Ann Collins said...

I appreciate your comment, Brad.

Anna C. Morrison said...

I never thought about how the characters influence actions before, but it's true, they do! No pressure. :-)

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thanks, Anna.