I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love books. When I was a child, I used to smuggle a flashlight into my room at night so I could hide under the covers and read after my mom had turned out the lights. My favorite place to hang out was the local library. The librarians all knew me by name and were never surprised when I showed up several days in a row and stayed for hours.
And then there’s my youngest son, Chris. I read to him before he was ever born. When he was a toddler, we spent countless hours snuggled up on the couch together as I read to him. I’d no sooner finish a story than he’d clap and yell, “Again!” I even used his desire to hear me read to him “again” to my advantage by saying things like, “Okay, as soon as you pick up your toys, I will read it again.” It worked for a while.
Then he got older and more into TV and sports and early versions of video games, and reading nearly disappeared from his life. I remember one day in particular when he was whining about being bored, so I suggested he read a book. His eyes widened and he said, “Why? What did I do?”
I was devastated. When had reading ceased to be a reward and become a punishment? Was it my fault? Had I allowed that to happen through bad or lazy parenting techniques? Or was it simply a natural progression for a child growing up in a technological world, with so many entertainment options that books were relegated to the “boring” pile?
I really don’t have an answer for that, as I know that even today there are children growing up as avid readers who never lose their passion for books. But there are many others who react as Chris did to the suggestion to read: “Why? What did I do?”
For those of us who are book-lovers, it’s a sad thing—even unbelievable—to hear someone say, “I never read” or “I don’t like to read” or “I don’t have time to read.” We have time for our priorities, so quite obviously reading is not a priority to many.
I know our lives are busy; I too wish I had more time to read. But I also know I have time to do what I really love. For me, that’s reading. How about you?
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