Wednesday, September 12, 2007

If you ask any parent how they want to raise their children, or perhaps what they hope to teach their children about life, or even what they want most for their children you'd get a wide variety of answers. Several times I've made lists of goals for my children. Things I'd like for them to learn, things I'd like for them to internalize and broad goals in areas like attitude and a close walk with the Lord frequent those lists along with finding a wonderful spouse, having a good marriage and so on. Over time some of the things on the list have changed but there are some things that remain year after year. In reviewing the lists I made from the time Matthew was young I discovered that I often put one thing over and over again towards the top of the list. I want them to develop a love of reading.

Books are important to me. Being surrounded by books makes me feel cozy, warm and enriched. I love to find a heroine I can identify with and read everything the writer wrote about them and then some. I love to get lost in a new book about far away places or new ideas, and I love the joy I find in finishing a book that just makes me feel good inside. Learning something new or just reviewing something I thought I remembered makes me feel vital and alive, and finding a new interest means I have a whole new section in the library to browse next week when we return to our favorite spot in the city once again. Yes, literacy is big around here and I keep praying that I will impart that to my children.

For Matthew, who struggles with reading sometimes, books are just beginning to be a place to get lost in. Jonathan reads with ease but so far hasn't discovered the joy of reading to himself just because it is fun. Laura, on the other hand, is already in love with books and can find tremendous joy in almost anything containing words. No, she can't read yet but oh how she loves those pictures! Sometimes it seems her main goal for the day is to get someone to sit down and read her a dozen or more books. Although I get tired of reading the same book over and over again, I discovered enough in our family stash that this rarely happens more than once or twice these days as she has a whole bookcase all to herself. And she revels in it.

A few weeks ago I realized it was just too quiet. Laura wasn't singing, laughing, trying to con her brothers in to taking her outside, or even pushing her dolly around in the stroller or carriage. Something had to be up and I feared that she was playing in places she didn't belong. I began searching quietly, hoping to catch her in the middle of something so I could have her help me clean it up. After being unsuccessful in all of her usual places I called her name. I was rewarded with "I'm in here, Mommy. Weading."

Sure enough, propped up in our living room/school room comfy chair, she was doing one of her Christmas seek and find books. She'd managed to find quite a few things in several scenes and was just enjoying the time by herself. It did my heart good to find her so engaged by books. The world is just waiting for her to discover it. From 'Little House' books to the Bobbsey Twins, she's got a lot of territory ahead of her. And I can't wait to watch the joy of discover grow!

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