Of course, we teach our kids to believe that it does, thinking that education is the all-important focus for future endeavors and successful careers. And yet, the statistical studies show a consistency of denial – after schooling, whether of high school, college or beyond, the majority of individuals stop reading, unless you include road signs, directions on the back of packages (which most people disregard as well – come to think of it, of road signs, too), and the fine print on warranties (ibid).
So, is it just one of those pithy, inane phrases that fall under the general umbrella of, “Do as I say, not as I do”? Does reading alter? Alter what? And does it matter “what” we read, as opposed to the act involved, “that we read”? Would it bother someone if you saw a grown-up reading those old “Spot” books, or a collection of nursery rhymes?
If you approached the individual, or engaged in common banter at the workplace and made fun of him or her, would it make a difference depending upon the responses given? What if the old gentleman responded with, “Well, at least I’m reading something!” Or, what if the person turns seriously, sheds a few tears and admitted, “I never had time to read as a child, and never really learned. I’m trying to better myself and teaching myself to read, now.”
Would such a confession instead garner a new perspective and bring out an empathetic reaction? Or, what if that same person was seen reading a 1st grade book one day, and then tackling a complex manual about advanced logic or neuroscience – would that make you pause?
Perhaps the question itself is considered by most as rather rhetorical and irrelevant; that, it is presumed that reading does alter, but many prefer not to change and instead to remain in the constancy of monotony and repetitive stillness. Just as the flow of a river results in erosion and soil shifting, so reading does indeed alter, and out encountering with the mind-bending activity results in the internal modification and modulation of complex biochemical structures.
Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to read the questions posed in each of the Standard Forms in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement packet, precisely because it will alter not only the responses being prepared, but how those very responses will serve to result in a successful outcome.
Just as reading alters, so the responses to the questions read, to be read by an Administrative Specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is also meant to alter. For, change is the mainstay of a living entity, and reading is that tool which is meant to alter, even when preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire