Raising kids takes time. A long time. It’s easy to get disenchanted, you feel like, “What’s the point?” After all, it’s doing the same things over and over and over again. Of course you are thrilled when your child utters his first word, grabs a bottle the first time, makes eye contact with you the first time. But pretty soon, doing the same things day in day out somehow makes it feel oh-so-predictable. Cooking, cleaning, feeding, teaching . . . it’s easy to get caught in the process and lose sight of the big picture.
Take reading, for example. A toddler for some reason, falls in love with a particular book, and wants you to read that same book every day.
A parent asks: How do I get excited reading the same book over and over again to my child? I typically return home late from work, and half of my mind would already be thinking of the housework – cooking, cleaning, and a million things to do – and the stuff waiting for me at work the next day.
Here’s my response:
Moving to parenthood comes as a shock to many. The sudden number of tasks that you have to do is downright overwhelming, unless you hire domestic help who is always there to follow up on your commands. Most of us do not have the luxury of having one, though.
I shared that reading to my children had always been something very dear to me. In fact, I started them on books really early, as I breastfed all of them. I would pick up a book and read to them as they took the time to feed. One of my sons thought it was part of the ritual; he would pick up a book before we began.
Reading to your child is like you and him taking a journey on a ship together. It’s just you two, with no one else, an adventure. Imagine how beautiful this can be! It isn’t a chore, it’s a time for bonding, teaching values, since good books have good values embedded in the stories.
More important, let me ask you: Why do you read to your child? Is it because you want her to score A for exams? Or is it because you want to open her mind, broaden her perspective, so she can grow into a wise, balanced, successful person? Children who grow up into successful adults are raised differently from those who don’t. They have a different mindset. They see themselves as contributors, problem-solvers, innovators, creators. Reading is an activity where children see problems and solutions which they might never experience in real life. A good book allows them to take a unique learning journey.
Life is more than household chores, exams, rushing from one task to another. Each time you read to your child sincerely, with interest and enthusiasm, your child gets a proactive message on what to do and what not to do, what works and what doesn’t, and how to behave and how not to behave in real life.
I also shared how I read to one of my sons until he was eleven years old; something that surprised some parents. Reading is a great way to lead and guide your child into the future beyond.
Thought of the Day
“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.”