Along with having a schedule in place for our family, reading books together has been fundamental. From the time they were born I've read to my kids. Partly for them, partly for me - reading Dr. Seuss to the kids is much more fun than reading it to myself. Sharing a story together gives us common ground, something to refer to in our daily conversation, something to bring us back together when life scatters us. A reason to snuggle, too.
Sometimes it was more of a wrestling match than snuggling. Forced-listening? You-will-like-this and we-will-bond? The boys always wanted to tear the books, eat the books, throw the books. But we pressed on, and they came around. Now it's my son who slyly drops the book on the table next to my lunch plate.
I don't get to read everything my kids are reading for school anymore, and I think I'm jealous. My children are going on adventures without me. Meeting new people, seeing new places. They are more 'well-read' than I and have devoured bookshelves-full. I taught them each to read, by the grace of God, and now there's no stopping them. Even the boys. But with carefully chosen books as their teachers, there is no limit to their education. Only a limit on my time, and I don't have enough to catch up on all the great books.
Because I just can't do it all. And I have to be okay with that.
We have had family read-alouds in the evening with Dad. We've read fiction and non-fiction, hero tales, fairy tales, missionary stories and silly poems. We have forced our way through the Bible in a year of 6 a.m. wake-ups. Just because we thought we should.
There are many books that the youngest hasn't been read. There are hundreds more great books that none of us has read. We have started several books that we never finished, and we have had long dry spells with no story.
It's all okay. We just start again where we left off. Or find a new book.
In fact, we just recently picked up the habit again, in the mornings after breakfast. Even though schedules are packed and life has changed and there are no toddlers anymore, we have to read together. It is essential for us. And you know what? Nobody complained. All made room in their schedules.
And I've learned (am learning) not to make Dad feel guilty about missing out. Some seasons we can all read together. Other seasons, life and work happen in abundance and I make time for read-alouds during the day, because I can. Nobody needs more guilt heaped on their shoulders because of what they don't do. Some of the best stories we hear are the ones Dad tells at the dinner table!
Books take us beyond ourselves and our time, giving us fresh perspective, new inspiration, deeper thoughts. We use books to teach our kids because some lessons are better read than preached.
We ebb and flow with life, but I hope we always come back to sharing stories together.
growing in thanksgiving, through the fog of sickness this week...
143. daddy's surprises
144. goofy classmates
146. The Wolfe's
15o. doggy kisses
151. Fourteen years with Bailey
152. books as teachers
153. popcorn and smoothies and time together
154. Awesome Uncle Troy! Dropping by with unexpected thanks.