The Joy of Reading

Roderick R. Mendiola, Principal III – Bonifacio Javier National High School

I LOVE numbers.

I love numbers so much that I took up a civil engineering course in college. But I failed. As I wasn’t gifted with the hand of an aspiring engineer, I flunked my drawing subject, twice! But failure did not keep me from pursuing my passion, so I shifted to a somewhat cognate discipline and enrolled in statistics, finishing the degree in four years. (The mathematics program of the university I attended would not be made available until many years later.)

I simply love numbers. It was in the realm of mathematics that I considered myself supremely blessed among my equals. I topped in most departmental examinations, even beating out engineering students in algebra, analytic geometry, and calculus tests.

But, just like the bane of all lovers of mathematics, English was a curse.

I had a vivid recollection of being subjected to embarrassment in front of a class when I was a sophomore in high school, simply because I couldn’t form a grammatically correct sentence or two. And I hated my English teacher each time she forced us to read long passages that seemed to terminate in eternity. Learning English in those days was difficult for me.

But it wasn’t until I creatively challenged myself that I developed the habit of leafing through the pages of good old books, but it took me a couple of years to embrace the joy of reading. Indeed, John C. Maxwell is right on point: growth doesn’t happen in a day, it develops daily. In the long run, I became so enamored of literature that I couldn’t part with great classics by Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, and Alexander Dumas, among others.

Personal growth is clearly an intentional affair. Had I not been intentional about developing my love of reading, I wouldn’t have learned to appreciate the language, which eventually polished my writing skills. That’s how wonderful reading has brought into my life. It shaped me and transformed me into someone I am today – a certified bibliophile!

Happy National Reading and Book Month 2022!

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