You’re stressed. You’re busy. You have so much on your plate. Time to read? Other than kids books? Get out of here.
Except maybe the latter is the solution to the former. If you want to be less stressed, you gotta make time for yourself—to read, to think, to learn. The great William Osler (a founder of Johns Hopkins University) told his medical students it was important that they turn to literature as a way to nourish and relax their minds. “When chemistry distresses your soul,” he said, “seek peace in the great pacifier, Shakespeare… ten minutes with Montaigne will lighten the burden.”
That sounds heady, OK. So maybe a book about WWII. Or a book of David Sedaris stories. Something funny. Something that teaches. Something that takes you into a fantasy world.
As Osler wrote,
Start at once a bedside library and spend the last half-hour of the day in communion with the saints of humanity. There are great lessons to be learned from Job and from David, from Isaiah and St. Paul. Taught by Shakespeare you may take your intellectual and moral measure with singular precision. Learn to love Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. Should you be so fortunate as to be born a Platonist, Jowett will introduce you to the great master through whom alone we can think in certain levels, and whose perpetual modernness startles and delights. Montaigne will teach you moderation in all things, and to be “sealed of his tribe” is a special privilege.
Never has the news made anyone feel better. Twitter is less of an escape than a hellscape. Go throw yourself into some books. Learn something you can pass onto your kids. Let your mind relax so you’ll be better around them. Show them that education never stops, show them what a reader looks like.
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P.S. This was originally sent on December 30, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”