Books and studies are two different entities in Nigeria. Studies are generally what your teacher hands you – with a cane in the other hand – that you have to memorise in order to pass exams. Like television, computer games and the internet, books are distractions that pull you away from the most important thing you need to do as a child – bleed your way to a school certificate. While studies do not require you to think but just remember, books open doors you never knew existed to dreams and imaginations, much to the bane of many parents. Too much thinking in children translates to stubbornness.
Teachers don’t read, so we are taught outdated information. They don’t read, so they can’t accommodate the child who does. They don’t understand the child that answers questions differently, outside of the set formula of parroting whatever you are taught, so such a student gets punished or downgraded for their thoughts. Parents don’t read, so they have no idea how to answer or respond their offspring’s numerous questions. They don’t read, so they kill their children’s natural curiosity with their blunt, impatient responses. Thus, children don’t read, so they struggle with critical thinking and reasoning beyond what they can see around them.
You see the lack of thinking in government. Politicians went to school but they never cultivated their minds. Their charisma and coldblooded greed lifted them to the top but their infertile, dry, barren minds stem them from doing anything useful for Nigeria. Even on the few occasions that they do try, their plans expose a lack reasoning. Reading doesn’t just supply facts, it gets the wheels of dusty cobwebbed minds turning.
Encourage children to read. Buy them Enid Blyton and C.S. Lewis books, Tintin, and Supa Strikas. Let them read and begin to write their own stories, form their own ideas and make their own discoveries.
I am on a mission to get Nigerians reading books again. If I can get just one person to fall in love with the written word, I would be ecstatic. Look out for blog posts with the tagline, #ALiteraryRevival, and spread the word!