February 25

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Remote Control Reading by David Rische

Maybe you have the same problem I do. I love to read. Not only to be reading one book, but multiple books at the same time. Currently on my nightstand, there are books about archeology, comedy, magic, Greek mythology, crockpot cooking, and my faith. I don’t know how or when I developed this habit, it was never encouraged by any of my teachers. Maybe it is that love of mysteries and me wanting to know the end (even if the book is non-fiction). Perhaps I don’t have the patience to read one book at a time. All the while wondering what is going on in those other books? I can’t help that I have a multitude of curiosities about life and the world we live in.

I call it Remote Control Reading. Just like many of us “surf” from channel to channel endlessly on the television – the same thing can happen by changing from one book to another. Not even finishing a chapter in the book on the top of your pile before switching to a book at the bottom. Does this sound familiar? Included with this practice is the nagging voice in the back of our minds questioning, “Am I ever going to finish any of these books???”

I’m here to proclaim freedom to you – It is 100% okay to read multiple books at one time! I already mentioned how many of us flip from channel to channel without thinking about it. Reflecting on the foods we enjoy – that’s what a buffet is all about. How about the vast amount of restaurant choices that swarm our minds every time we contemplate going out to eat? The movies would be boring if there weren’t so many different genres of films available. How about the different styles of music we constantly switch to for one day?

Not only is it okay to participate in Remote Control Reading – here are three other areas about reading that you’ve maybe felt guilty or even shamed about – and each one of them are completely all right!!!

  • It’s okay to not finish a book. This one took me a long time to get over, especially if I paid money for it. I was an adult when I finally would accept this. What makes this situation even worse is when you receive a book as a gift from someone like Aunt Gertrude and she says, “This is perfect for you – let me know what you think about it when you’re finished.” It is a subject she is passionate about and you have no interest in it. Plus, the book is 400 pages long. Yikes!
  • It’s okay to fall asleep while reading. We might think, “Ugh – I’m never going to finish this book – I keep falling asleep!” No problem. What a great way to calm your body, mind, and brain – and perhaps you’re adding some creative material to your subconscious for dreams that night! Think about how much screen time you’ve had during the day. Will being on our electronic devices lead us into a deeper sleep – or move us toward unintentionally wiring ourselves up?
  • It’s okay to not like electronic books. Some folks love having a portable library on their electronic devices. They can bring their entire collection with them to the beach, on an airplane, or while sitting in a waiting room. I tried it – and personally can’t stand it. Part of my love for books comes from displaying them, accumulating collections, marking them up with pens and highlighters, physically sharing them with others, and smelling them (just kidding, sort of). Plus, electronic screens are not the best way to calm your mind and brain down before going to bed (see #2 for a great suggestion how)!

So next time you catch yourself reading multiple books at one time – enjoy and embrace it – and do not feel once ounce of guilt! You are part of a select group – The Remote Control Readers!

David Rische is in his 23rd year working in the public-school system. He has been a teacher, assistant principal, and currently serves as a principal. He always has a pile of books on his nightstand or work desk. David can be found on Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter @dmrische or his website www.davidrische.com.