Thank you for READING.
In a world of what seems like constant communications, so few people seem to do it well and so many seem to be devoid of the benefit that reading can so easily provide. I recently happened across a wonderful piece by my dear friend and ardent reader and writer, Justice Bill Cunningham (a most extraordinary example of an elected official with an obvious reading history that informs his oratory). In his essay he quoted Abraham Lincoln from his first inaugural address.
"We’re not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
He followed with, “This eloquence almost takes your breath away. Today I can’t help but think of the terrible rancor and division that shakes our political landscape in America. I can’t help but think of the coarse, vulgar, and meaningless language of our presidential debates in tone and words.”
Read this. Almost 34% of high school graduates never read a book after graduation. After college that number goes to 42%. In Arizona when the state forecasts how many prison beds they will need, they look to the number of kids in 4th grade who read well. The number one cause of divorce is poor communication. And the number one predictor of occupational success is vocabulary.
So dear readers, PLEASE keep READING. Read personal narratives, read biographies, read Doris Kearns Goodwin and Dr. Suess. Read Louisa May Alcott and Leon Uris. Read science fiction and poetry. Read PADUCAH LIFE Magazine. Reading can take you to places that time and money and reality sometimes prohibit—like civil war Atlanta, Narnia, ancient Egypt, the old west, the Sierra Mountains, Jurassic Park, or PADUCAH! In this edition alone you’ll travel to Rwanda, the racetrack, fields of daffodils, into the night sky, to the movies, and to days gone by.
Reading and cultivating a strong vocabulary allows us to do the thing that 50+ years of social science tells us is the key to wellbeing—making meaningful connections to others. The strength of our connection greatly depends on the quality of our language. It hinges on our very WORDS. Language allows for that potent defining moment between friends when we understand and are understood.
The very best of LIFE can be found by continuously turning the page. All the best (reading) from all of us at PADUCAH LIFE Magazine.