Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Little Boys and Their Books

   I have begun to notice a pattern when it comes to not just my own reading habits but in how they affect the reading habits of my son. You see, it is far easier for me to read, and get the most out of that reading, when he is asleep. BUT... on the days that I do read my own books in front of him his desire to be read to increases exponentially. The inverse of this appears to be true as well. And the effects seem to last for multiple days.

   Yesterday was one of those days. Being sick I knew that I wouldn't have the energy to focus on my reading after he had gone to bed for the night so I picked up my book and began to read as he played happily in the other room. All it took was one glance of Mommy with a book in her hand for him to come running to me with stacks and stacks of books pretty much ever since.

   This is obviously a good thing. Today we have read I Am A Bunny, Harry the Dirty Dog and Corduroy multiple times each. Bastian even pointed to the appropriate dog on a page full of pooches and said "Harry!" with great confidence! It was fantastic! But... being melancholy as I am, this reminds me of how intensely in tune our children are with not only what their parents say but what they do. It is a scary and at the same time glorious responsibility. To know that one day he will look back at his love of books and point to me. Just the same as his propensity for not changing out of his pajamas all day long... It is a double edged sword.

   While it is inherently impossible to prevent our children from picking up at least some of our bad traits, it is also impossible to stop them from inheriting some of our best as well. So long as we remember to do the things we love, the things we are the best at doing, in front of our children. My mother never waited for my sister and I to go to bed before she sat down at her sewing machine. She let us watch and later help. My dad never shied away from engaging in wonderful conversations with new people because my sister and I were along and at three and six years old  would find adult conversations dull. We both get much of our creativity and relational depth from the fact that our parents engaged their passions and talents in front of us.

   Do you value reading? Writing? Good movies? Great conversations? Do those things. Frequently. For yourself of course, but also for your kids. Do them in front of your kids. Your children, in all likelihood will follow suite.

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