It is impossible to remain small minded while being a big reader. I don’t just mean you read a lot of romance novels or a ton of self help books. I mean, you read a whole heaping lot, across genres, across eras, across subject matter.
I like to consider myself a voracious reader. It means I devour or consume books with an eagerness that can’t be stopped. “Voracious” is a word I picked up from one of the many “word lists” I’ve created over the years. If you read enough, eventually you’ll come across a word you don’t know. Especially if you read Dickens. When that happens, I write it down so that I can look up the definition later. I then challenge myself to use that word or words several times that day so that I can hopefully memorize it and assimilate it into my vocabulary. Hence, I now consider my self a “voracious” reader, and not just a big reader. It sounds so much cooler :-).
Voltaire said, “A good book corrupts bad taste.” I love that idea. It is so true that what we mostly easily consume isn’t always of the highest quality. It might be easier to turn on the tv and model our thoughts and behaviors after the characters and ideas portrayed, but I’d rather form opinions based on my reading about the world: different people, ideas, places and experiences.
I would love for my kids to be readers. I’ve learned so much from books, and I don’t just mean intellectual stuff. I mean the kinds of things that you can only truly learn by putting yourself around ideas that are larger than you, experiences that are beyond you, and people that are different from you. And spiritually, I find that books can take me so much deeper in a topic than I could ever go in conversation.
So far, it looks like things are going well with my sons becoming book worms. I took the photo below this week and it absolutely melted my heart. I have one just like it of Theo when he was about the same age.
I am constantly happening upon my children with their books. Absorbed in the pictures of course. Theo and I began the process of learning to read this week, but we are in no rush. For now, I simply want to cultivate the love of the printed page. Of opening up a book and allowing ourselves to be transported to new places with new friends.
I don’t have a set routine for reading to my boys. (gasp) Instead, every morning after breakfast, I get books out for the boys and one (or two) for myself, and we settle down in the living room for an hour. I will get lost in my book while the boys look at their stack and occasionally climb onto my lap for me to read to them. I love reading to my kids, but more than that, I love modeling my own love of reading to my boys. I believe they already enjoy books because I have demonstrated my own enjoyment and have made reading around them a priority.
They say that readers are leaders. But readers are so many other things, too. They are adventurers. They are creators. They are explorers. They are discoverers. They are detectives. They are thinkers. They are problem solvers. They are curious. They are observers. They are friends.
Maybe you’ve grown tired of reading “Goodnight Moon” and Dr. Seuss over and over. So try this for a change: Commit to one week of reading not to, but with, your kids. Who knows, you might just start a habit that you won’t be able to quit! 🙂
Here are some fun pictures of my kids reading over the years, and a few of me reading in my happy place (aka: anywhere with coffee):