They need to see me read, not because I have to, but because I want to.

In no time at all, my eldest has made it to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and is now half way to the end of the book and the series itself. I have always wanted my children to love reading and this is a success I have no issue in claiming.  We know our librarians and they know us.  We have spent hundreds of hours in the pages of books.  My husband and I have read to them every day they have been with us since they were born, either one or both of us, both novels and picture books, e-books and audio.  We’ve read books we wanted to share with them and books they wanted to discover with us.  Their grandparents, both maternal and paternal, have nurtured this love of books in so many different ways.  Even their great-grandparents have valued this desire and though their numbers are gradually dwindling, our sons remember story-time in the laps of those who have left us and are now reading to those who remain.  We all love books, and I’m incredibly grateful for this effort across our entire extended family.  I believe this work to teach our children to find themselves in books helps to protect them, break them, and grow them, over and over and over, with each new book helping them to be a better version of themselves.  The oft paraphrased quote of Chesterton’s holds true, time and again, that fairy tales tell kids that dragons can be killed, because we all know they already exist and this is not an issue we need to grasp.  Learning that the big bad can be vanquished is what we always need reminders of, no matter how old we get to be.  I feel that we read with our boys not only to teach them about the dragons that can be defeated, but also that sometimes, it is not the dragons who are the villains. Something I have missed for a long time, in the rush of trying to be a mom and a wife and all of the above, is the value in my kids seeing me read myself. They have seen me read to them and to train and study for my work in our church and preparing to teach as an educator, but they have rarely seen me pick up a book because I want to with no extrinsic need behind my action. In my efforts to do all the right things, I forgot that wanting my kids to always love to read means that I too must always love to read and allow myself the time to nurture that love. I have tried this year to do just that, to let my kids see me reading, resting, in a blanket with a book, escaping and healing. Last month, it became very apparent that my kids had indeed been watching. They asked their dad to take them to the bookstore to get me the next book in a series they knew I had been reading. Though they were disappointed that the store didn’t have a copy, I was not, because it provided another excuse to go to one of our most favorite places together, the library.

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