Reading…Reward or Punishment?

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?

About alandkathi66

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, married to my junior/senior high school sweetheart, Al. I am the author of 40 books, with several more in process. I enjoy speaking and teaching at writers' conferences and women's events, and I am passionate about supporting the persecuted Church and fighting human trafficking. I also serve as Senior Vice President of Acquisitions for Elk Lake Publishing. My most recent releases are The Singing Quilt (March 2014); The 40-Day Devotional Challenge (January 2014); The Doctor's Christmas Quilt (October 2013).
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4 Responses to Reading…Reward or Punishment?

  1. REWARD! I read every single day. Some days it is an entire book and some days, like vacation, or busy canning, only a few chapters. I have read and reviewed over 260 books already this year. Lately, 95% of my books I read are ARC, but I have a reputation among authors and publishers that I will read and review and in the timeframe needed. I love reading, always have. My husband reads, all three children read and even my grandchildren love to read. One read 105 books over the summer vacation and was rewarded with a special pizza party at her daycare. She is in 1st grade this year and an excellent reader and speller. Children excell that read, it expands their minds, their abilities and allows them creativity from reading.
    Punishment for me would be to make me watch TV, which I don’t, except local and maybe evening news.


  2. alandkathi66 says:

    Wow, Kathy, what a wonderful response! Would love to have you read/review my new releases any time you’re interested. Blessings to you and your reader-family!


  3. imabrassy1 says:

    love to read. When I was sent to my room it was never a real punishment as I read. I have loved to read for as long as I’ve been able to read. Mother read and read to me. I memorized the books she read. If they tried to change it I would tell them. Today I love to read and do that almost more than anything else. I don’t understand people not reading. It is my escape from my problems.


  4. alandkathi66 says:

    I’m with you! Being sent to my room to read was always a reward to me.


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