Young People Ask . . .
Why Do I Have to Read?
“I don’t have the patience for reading. I’d rather watch television.”—Margarita, 13, Russia.
“If I have a choice between reading a book or playing basketball, I prefer to play.”—Oscar, 19, United States.
IF YOU have taken the time to read this far, you probably realize that reading is an important skill to learn. Even so, you might view the prospect of reading a book or even a magazine article as being a little like taking medicine: You know it is good for you, but you prefer to avoid it.
Awake! interviewed youths from 11 countries to find out what they had to say about the challenges and the benefits of reading. The following is what they said.
Why do you find reading such a challenge?
“I seldom seem to be able to find time for it.”—Semsihan, 19, Germany.
“Reading is hard work. I think I am a little lazy.”—Ezekiel, 19, Philippines.
“I hate being forced to read about boring subjects.”—Christian, 15, England.
“If a book is thin, I might feel like reading it. But if it is thick, it intimidates me.”—Eriko, 18, Japan.
“I am easily distracted by other things. I can’t concentrate.”—Francisco, 13, South Africa.
Christian youths are encouraged to read the Bible. (Psalm 1:1-3) Is that difficult for you? If so, why?
“The Bible is such a big book! I think I wouldn’t be able to finish it in my whole life!”—Anna, 13, Russia.
“Some parts of the Bible are heavy going and not very entertaining.”—Jezreel, 11, India.
“I find it difficult to read the Bible regularly because my schedule is so disorganized.”—Elsa, 19, England.
“It is challenging for me because chores and schoolwork take up so much of my time.”—Zurisadai, 14, Mexico.
“Bible reading is hard for me because I can’t seem to cut down on the time I spend on my hobbies.”—Sho, 14, Japan.
Clearly, reading can be challenging. But is it worth the effort? How have you benefited from reading?
“Reading has expanded my knowledge, and that has made me more confident when I talk to people.”—Monisha, 14, India.
“Reading relaxes me and takes my mind off my troubles.”—Alison, 17, Australia.
“Reading takes me to places I would otherwise never be able to visit.”—Duane, 19, South Africa.
“Reading helps me investigate things for myself, instead of having to rely on what others tell me.”—Abihú, 16, Mexico.
What has helped you to enjoy reading?
“From the time I was very young, my parents have encouraged me to read aloud.”—Tanya, 18, India.
“My parents encouraged me to use my imagination while reading, to visualize the action.”—Daniel, 18, England.
“My father suggested that I start off with the Bible books that I find more appealing, like Psalms and Proverbs. Now I find Bible reading a joy, not a burden.”—Charene, 16, South Africa.
“By the time I was four, my parents had provided me a desk and a shelf with all the books they had set aside for me since I was born.”—Airi, 14, Japan.
Why do you think it is important to read the Bible?
“People believe many things about the Bible that are not true. It’s much better if you can check these things out for yourself.” (Acts 17:11)—Matthew, 15, United States.
“The Bible requires a lot of thought. But reading it has helped me to express myself confidently and clearly when I talk to others about my beliefs.” (1 Timothy 4:13)—Jane, 19, England.
“When I read the Bible, I feel that Jehovah is speaking to me directly. Sometimes it touches my emotions.” (Hebrews 4:12)—Obadiah, 15, India.
“I am learning to enjoy reading the Bible because it tells me what Jehovah thinks about me and it gives me good advice.” (Isaiah 48:17, 18)—Viktoriya, 14, Russia.
When do you find time to read the Bible and Bible literature?
“I have a schedule. I read one chapter of the Bible first thing each morning.”—Lais, 17, Brazil.
“I read the Bible and other Christian literature on the train during my commute to school. For the past four years, I have been able to keep up this routine.”—Taichi, 19, Japan.
“I read a little of the Bible each night before I go to sleep.”—Maria, 15, Russia.
“I read four pages of either ‘The Watchtower’ or ‘Awake!’ each day. I am able to complete a whole magazine before the next one arrives.”—Eriko, 18, Japan.
“I read the Bible each morning before I go to school.”—James, 17, England.
As the above comments show, reading can boost your confidence and broaden your knowledge. Reading the Bible and Bible-based literature—including this magazine—will also help you to “draw close to God.” (James 4:8) So even if you find reading to be a challenge, do not give up!
TO THINK ABOUT
▪ Why is it important for you to read God’s Word?
▪ How can you ‘buy out time’ to read the Bible and Bible literature?—Ephesians 5:15, 16.
[Box on page 16]
Connect what you read with what you already know about yourself and your surroundings. Ask yourself the following questions:
▪ Text-to-Text Do the situations or problems described resemble those depicted in other books, magazines, or stories I have read? Do the characters share similar traits with other people I have learned about?
▪ Text-to-Self How does this information relate to my circumstances, my culture, my dilemmas? Can I use the material to help me deal with problems or to make my life better?
▪ Text-to-Surroundings What does this material teach me about nature, the environment, different cultures, or problems in society? What does this information teach me about the Creator?