Brightening our boys' imaginations

Like many people, I really enjoy a good book.

I’m mostly a holiday reader, but if the first page of a book isn’t absolutely captivating, it’ll be put down never to be touched again.

I find it fascinating that some people can consume multiple books in a week – how is that possible?

During the recent holidays, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with family and friends. There were opportunities to fill the day with adventure, but also to sit, relax and do not much at all.

There were plenty of books on offer too, but none that hooked me. I’m talking real books with real paper pages too. I literally read the first page of every book in the house…and got no further. They just didn’t grab me.

No one else had an issue finding a book to their liking. The younger people in the house especially. I don’t mean young adults, I mean teenagers. While I was disheartened not to find a book that I could enjoy, I was overwhelmingly happy that the young ones could. Weren’t they supposed to be on their phones?

I filled my time doing other things while people read their books, then I’d ask about what they were reading.

I’d say, “How’s the book going?” or “How’s that book coming along?” like it had some sort of health problem or it was being written by the person themselves. The ensuing conversation was great.

These supposed phone-obsessed teens, normally scrolling and grunting their way through the day at best, spoke at length about characters and plot twists like they’d read the book a hundred times.

They revealed which characters they liked and didn’t, who they thought would survive and wouldn’t. They theorized about scandals and historical events with insight and maturity, liked they’d lived through them in real time.

I got to the end of the week having not read one book but feeling like I had read every book in the house. Most importantly, I also felt like I’d been able to connect with others in a way that was interesting and authentic. The humble book had been a conduit for so many great conversations during the week.

There are so many great things about books (and reading), not simply that they can stimulate a nice conversation between people of different generations or interests. Books and reading can do much more than just that. For boys at IGS, books are an essential for their development and their growth.

Books can brighten their imagination; they can help our boys form diverse perspectives. Reading can enhance their vocabulary, and even teach them important life lessons. Reading can relieve their stress and can improve their own writing skills. Reading books can improve their communication skills – I can’t disagree with that based on recent experience.

Without doubt, books and reading are so good for our boys and their development into young men.

Roald Dahl, one of the first authors I remember from school sums it up nicely, “If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books”. Never a truer word spoken.

Peter Christie
Dean of Students