Reading

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To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” – Victor Hugo

I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.” – Orhan Pamuk

Yesterday was the commemoration of the birth of Andres Bonifacio who fought a bloody revolt against Spain but ended up killed due to a bloody political mess during the infancy of what is supposed to be an independent Philippines. Bonifacio was not highly educated unlike our notable heroes such as Rizal, Aguinaldo, Mabini or even Jacinto. He was exposed to work early in his life and ended up as a warehouseman, a mere hired hand. But he was fierce. He was fearless. He was aggressive in the struggle for freedom.

One little known fact about Bonifacio is that he was quite a reader. Unknown to many he was able to read the French Revolution, the two novels of Rizal – Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo and Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables among others. I could almost ascertain that this was enough to ignite a spark in his heart for a free country. It is possible that thru his readings, it led him to action. It gave him the determination to fight against tyranny. Those books revolutionized his mindset to initiate a revolution.

Reading has somehow been one of the secrets of effective and successful leaders. There might not have been no indication earlier in his life that Bonifacio will be leading a revolution one day. However, his readings changed everything. It changed his life’s direction. His readings awakened the leadership spirit buried deep in his heart.

It was said that a reader may not be a leader. But a leader must be a reader. As a leader, you cannot do away with reading. You need to be educated by books. You need to learn something new every day. And that’s what makes you effective. That’s what makes you great. Therefore, the aim of reading is to lead you to action not merely to gain more knowledge.

It was reported recently that the number of nonreaders in the public elementary schools are increasing. If that trends continues, I could not imagine what kind of leaders we will soon have in the future. Our teachers in DEPED have to become readers themselves. Because we cannot teach what we do not know and we cannot give what we do not have.

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