September 8th is International Literacy Day. It is a day intended to stop and recognize the importance of literacy to us as individuals and to society as a whole. For most of us, reading is something we take for granted. We read signs, magazines, books, websites, and work memos. Every single day we read without ever stopping to think about what our lives would look like or where we would be socially, professionally, or personally without that ability. As part of International Literacy Day I stopped to think, how do I celebrate literacy in my everyday life?
I always hated reading as a child. It was something my teachers and parents forced me to do but I could never understand why it mattered or why everyone acted like it was so important. Unfortunately, this attitude remained in high school and into college. Reading was something I had to do to get through school and pass assignments, but was never something I enjoyed or truly appreciated. It was years after college when I randomly decided I wanted to read a book. I cannot recall why I had the sudden urge or even what book I decided to pick up but regardless, I sat down and started reading. Little did I know that I was embarking on a life-long passion.
I now read dozens of books each year on almost every topic imaginable. Reading gives me the opportunity to learn about topics such as economics, finance, history, leadership and religion, or to simply appreciate a great story. Reading transformed from something I labored to do to something I truly enjoy. By making the choice to pick up that first book, I opened the door to so many new experiences and ideas. Now I can hardly imagine going a day without reading. Each morning as I sit, drinking my morning coffee and reading, I truly appreciate literacy and all the doors it has opened for me.
The way I celebrate literacy every day is by not taking that ability for granted and by choosing to make reading a priority in my life. How do you celebrate literacy?