Purpose: Micheal Flaherty’s purpose in this speech is to propose to modern educators that perhaps they need to improve their intellectual criteria starting with what is read.
Central Message: “You are what you read.” Those are Flaherty’s words when referring to what he believes we are taught from C. S. Lewis’ book “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” He continues, “We are shaped and influenced by the books that we read. They prepare us for more than interesting conversations – they actually prepare us to face real crises that we encounter in life. Few people would dispute this simple statement, so let’s ask a simple related question: What are we reading today?”
Validations: Flaherty points out some sad facts: “For the first time in modern history, less than half of the adult population now reads literature.” (It is perhaps important to define this particular use of the word ‘literature.’ Literature is not factual, it is fantastic.) He goes on to say that this decline is not secluded to one particular group – whether ethnic or age, or education related. “In just twenty years, young adults have declined from being those most likely to read literature to those least likely.”
Personal Thoughts: Why is this so? It is sad, and yet, we do very little to fix it. We live in an age where everything is electronic. Electronic distractions come from all directions to take us away from the printed word. It is often said that “well, now I can just read the shortened version online,” or “oh, I just listen to it on tape.” I feel that I am safe in saying that there is nothing really that can actually compare with reading the written word. Allow me to suggest that we turn off the T.V. just once in a while, sit down, first as a family, and eventually individually, read a story. A real, honest-to-goodness story. Let them be good stories, filled with deeper truths, morality, and examples of only the best. As Mr. Flaherty says, “Let them at least heard of brave knights and heroic courage.”
Taken directly from my last response paper for Foundations to Education. And this all written only after reading the first four paragraphs or so; I just skimmed the rest of it. I intend on reading it more thoroughly and allowing myself to be entirely enlightened. I can email it to whoever wants the rest of the speech. It's amazing.