Class 44: “The Power of Reading” (Part 1)
Welcome to Class 44 of “The Ramp” to the Highway of Success course for young women. I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society, working in partnership with the Martin Luther King Senior Institute for Young Men & Young Women. The Institute aims to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Sr., commonly referred to as “Daddy King”, whom God used to raise the great leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Our purpose is to guide young men and young women, and help them get on the path to becoming kings and queens for the glory of God.
I am your instructor for this course and the author of the ESSENCE Magazine bestselling book “Letters to Young Black Men” and the national bestselling book “Letters to Young Black Women.” My wife, Meriqua Whyte, and my eldest daughter, Daniella Whyte, co-authored “Letters to Young Black Women” with me. My daughter, who has her bachelor’s degree and is now pursuing her master’s degree, and her mother, developed the Study Guide. We are using Letters to Young Black Women and its study guide to guide you through this course. This course is for all young women, but especially for young black women and young women of color who oftentimes face disadvantages that others do not. The goal of this class is to help you operate from a position of strength and power based upon the Word of God so you can be victorious in life. My prayer is that this class will empower you to win against your enemies: the devil, sorry men, and even yourself.
Today, we will begin a new study titled, THE POWER OF READING.
— Let’s Pray —
Allow me to begin with a quote from Mary McLeod Bethune. She said, “The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.”
Now, please pull out your text and your digital study guide or follow along on the screen. First, I will read the entire corresponding letter from the book, Letters to Young Black Women. Then we will proceed with this lesson:
Dear Daughters & YBW:
I want to encourage you to expand your mind by reading throughout your life.
I am ashamed to say this, but as a child, neither my parents nor my teachers pushed me to read. In fact, I did not read an entire book through until I was a grown man and had learned the awesome power of reading on my own.
Why you should read:
• Reading helps you to think (as opposed to the television which dulls your mind).
• Reading helps you to write and speak better.
• Reading increases your vocabulary.
• Reading takes you places mentally that you may never be able to go physically.
• Reading helps you to become a more educated person.
What you should read:
• The Holy Bible
• The Christian classics
• A good grammar book
• A World history book
• An American history book
• An African-American history book
• A book on etiquette
• A book on personal hygiene
• The classics by both black and white authors
• A good daily newspaper or news magazine
• A pocket dictionary
Of course, there are some books which you need to stay away from. All books, sad to say, are not good books. Stay away from books or magazines that are pornographic in nature. Also, stay away from books and magazines that deal with gossip and foolishness. This kind of reading material does not advance you; it only slows you down from reaching your goals. Let me touch on romance novels. I know that I am getting ready to get into a whole lot of trouble here, but as a young, single, Christian lady, you do not need to be reading erotic novels that will get you all stirred up in your passions, knowing that at this time in your life you cannot fulfill them, or you should not try to fulfill them. There are many good Christian-based novels out there today that glorify God, honor Christ, and teach great life lessons. Read those!
I encourage you to keep your mind occupied with reading good and wholesome books. Always keep a good book with you so that if you have to wait at the airport, or wait in the doctor’s office, you can use that time wisely by reading. Another thing that I like to do is listen to audio books while I drive, instead of listening to music. What a wonderful, easy way to get a good read in.
Readers are Leaders,
Now we will discuss three reasons you should read:
1. Reading helps you to think (as opposed to the television which dulls your mind).
Like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires frequent exercise in order to keep it healthy and strong. Reading is a simple way to keep your brain mentally stimulated. Research has shown that keeping your brain active by reading, or even doing puzzles and playing thinking games such as chess, can slow the progress of degenerative diseases such as Dementia. “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” is not just an often quoted phrase; it is true when it comes to the positive effect reading can have on your mind.
2. Reading helps you to write and speak better.
Reading gives you something to write about and talk about. Everything you read offers you an extensive amount of information that you didn’t know previously. The more knowledge you have about the world around you, the better-equipped you are to reason, analyze, critique, and handle the challenges that come your way. The first step to being able to write and speak is having something in your head about which to write and speak. Additionally, even if you were to lose everything and everyone else in life, what you learn from books can never be taken from you.
3. Reading increases your vocabulary.
This comes with the territory of reading. The more you read, the more words you are exposed to. While you may never use half of the words you learn, it is always good to have them in your vocabulary arsenal. Being able to articulate what you know can help to produce confidence and self-esteem and will serve you well in any profession. Besides that, studies show that those who are knowledgeable and well-read and well-versed on a broad array of subjects tend to climb the ladder of their profession more frequently and faster. An awareness of technology, literature, history, science, politics, language, and events at home and around the world is vital for positive advancement in today’s scoiety.
Horace Greeley said, “It is impossible, mentally and socially, to enslave a Bible reading people.”
In our next class, we will continue our study, “THE POWER OF READING”.
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what church people said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
God bless you and keep you until we meet for our next class.