2020 was a year of twists and turns, ups and downs—pick your cliché!

Recently, my dad suffered a stroke. He has a road ahead of him and takes it day by day. Some days are and will be better than others. But my family is blessed to still have him. And as I say, he is more him than not—complete with an unrelenting sense of humor. For that, I am grateful.

One of the deficits that resulted from Dad’s stroke is partial vision loss. This, paired with a cognitive deficit, has (hopefully) temporarily taken away his ability to read. The ripple effect of this loss is profound. His daily routine included reading the newspaper and discussing with my mom and later, whoever was around. He has always been highly independent and a creative problem-solver. In life and in business, I’m in awe of his ability to think outside the box and explore possibilities that had not occurred to me. Getting to the creative problem-solving stage often requires reading. When he wants to fix something, he’d rather read up than ask for help. Effective reading/writing/communications in business allowed him to succeed. He read the magazine Business Week for years, as he knew it was a means to help him succeed in his own business. He also read for pleasure.

I appreciate even more now how an ability to read has allowed him to be the take-charge kind of guy he is, even at the age of 88. I see that reading is affirming, provides self-efficacy, confidence, and freedom. Freedom to make choices, rather than have someone make them for you. Freedom to fortify the foundation on which your principles are built. Reading educates, motivates, and inspires us to live full lives.

A self-made man, reading has educated my dad. It has allowed him to consider new ideas and the opinions of others. And like all of us, that allows us to see the world in new ways.

Reading is power. Reading is a gift. A gift to be revered and celebrated.