Monday, July 12, 2010


A young woman at church mentioned that it is 'impossible' for her to see but not read a word.

It had never occurred to her that there are people - an estimated one BILLION people - who cannot read, cannot write, and so would never have this dilemma.

She understood that she may not be able to read a word in another language immediately - but I don't think she could grasp the fact that she, a middle-class American youth, has quite commonly and without a second thought acquired a skill that many in the world may never have.
So many times I stop and truly appreciate the blessings I have of a roof over my head - running water - and as a favorite character in "Lost in Austen" puts it,"I cannot live ten minutes without chocolate, electricity or bog paper."

But I carelessly type these words, read my notes, look up the spelling of more words that I actually care to admit while reading the subtitles of the DVD I am watching (yes, my hearing is getting that bad).

And when googling "illiteracy" images, the first images that come up are celebrities at fundraisers. The concept is far away, in third-world countries, in deepest jungles and harshest deserts.

It makes it difficult to accept that even in the United State, "the number of functionally illiterate adults is increasing by approximately two and one quarter million persons each year, including nearly 1 million young people who drop out of school before graduation, 400,000 legal immigrants, 100,000 refugees, and 800,000 illegal immigrants."

Functionality in English has become a rallying cry for people disturbed by our illegal immigrants.

My one (and only) argument is to challenge the person issuing this call - "Have you ever had to learn another language?"

Okay, enough rambling for one post, at least.