A man sitting down and reading a book in a dirty room

Slowly, But Surely

Saturday morning is insanity in my home. It’s chore day, which means that nobody can enjoy anything until the toilets are scrubbed, the beds are made, and the mysterious junk drawers are emptied and sanitized. It’s a lot of work, and with it comes a lot of noise. Kids shout that they’re out of cleaning supplies, vacuums roar, and the laundry tumbles in a pounding rhythm. I have my chores as well, but before I do them, I have to read. If I do the chores first, Saturday gobbles up my “me time.”

As I type this, my nine-year-old is blaring “Nothing But a Good Time” by the 80’s rock band, Poison. Part of me wants to march up there and tell him to finish his chores, but I’m surreptitiously enjoying the music.

I turn the page in my book to tackle something called “Cosmic Significance” in Ernest Becker’s Pulitzer Prize work, The Denial of Death. He explained the idea in a single paragraph, something that should have taken 15 seconds to read. It took me 45 minutes. Partly because the concept was difficult to grasp, and partly because I couldn’t stop tapping my foot to Poison’s music. Boy, how I love the 80’s.

Despite the distractions, I wanted to get the idea down. I had to read that paragraph several times, take notes, and do some journaling. Reading isn’t a race. It’s fine if you move through your book slowly, but surely. There are no awards for people who blaze through a book. It’s the people who fight their tendencies to be efficient and productive that win in the end. Those are the readers who get smarter.

Next time you feel the need to rush through a book, don’t.

Next time you beat yourself up for reading the same paragraph 10 times, don’t.

Next time you want to skip hard books because you don’t have a perfect reading environment, don’t.

Stop trying to win the teacher’s gold stars for reading 100 books this year. Instead, read slowly, but surely.

Published by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *