Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wealth Untold

I promised a post on Reading.

Every year I take to trip to Utah.
A Girls Trip.
We stay on the campus of BYU,
and spend 2 full days,
recharging our spirits,
and enlightening our minds.

One year,
Jenny was really excited to sit in the class about reading.
I am not a reader,
and it didn't mean much to me,
but it sounded good.

I can say now:
That class had a profound impact on our family.

It was taught by a mother
who made reading a priority in her home.

I took the message to heart,
and came home determined to make readers out of our young brood.
Sydney was very small at the time,
maybe first or second grade.

From that point,
we began to encourage our kids to always have a book.
I resisted every level media as a distraction tool
as much as possible.
Media serves a great purpose,
and entertainment is good,
but it seems that
too much
is damaging.

The first years of this plan were somewhat painful.
It would have been much easier to pop in a movie on a road trip,
or hand our boys gaming systems.
We cancelled cable
which left only channel 8,
and nothing on TV after 5pm.

When the children complained of being bored,
Dan and I would tell them to 'go read a book'.
I started collecting books.
My sister contributed heavily,
and so did many people looking to 'de-clutter'.
We started filling shelf after shelf.
Everything from
Junie B. Jones

At night,
when Dan was away,
and I needed to calm our kids down and put them to sleep,
we would read the scriptures.
Sydney's first time through the Book of Mormon,
was when she was 5 years old.
She sat next to me each night
during the months that Dan was working in Chicago.

I found my strength in that book.

As our children approach 8 years old,
the year of their baptism,
we read that book again.
(I think we are on our 7th time now.)
Every time,
I get something new from it.

I joined a book club a few years ago.
I needed a girls night out once in awhile.
I read a few good books,
and ate some treats,
and had some fun.
I eventually quit the book club
when I noticed
that I found myself watching the movies to the books,
instead of actually reading them.

But I got some really great ideas for our family from that limited time in the book club.

For example,
it was suggested that we read a book called
Carry On Mr. Bowditch.
This is a true story.
A great story,
the kind of story every boy needs to hear.

That book,
sparked a thought in me for our boys especially.
We read stories about great men,
heroes of all kinds.
Boys especially need to hear stories of courage and honor.

I teach our kids the history of Joshua Chamberlain,
a Civil War Hero,
who possibly changed our American History,
in a single act of bravery.

One year,
on a trip to Maine,
we detoured in Salem,
to visit the places where Nathaniel Bowditch lived.
We saw the big ships
and walked the same roads.

Maine is also the place that Joshua Chamberlain came from.
Sydney still remembers that we did not have time to visit his memorial in Bangor.
So we will apparently be going back there someday,
just for that reason.

Around our children's 8th birthday,
we take them to Nauvoo, Illinois,
where the early members of our church
had once lived.
On our way there,
we visit Hannibal, Missouri,
home of Samuel Clemens.
We eat at the Becky Thatcher Cafe,
and visit the Mark Twain Cave.

Colin, Sydney and Caleb will never forget those trips,
because the people and places they read about in books,
became real.

In recent years,
my time for reading is fairly limited.
Thanks to Sydney,
there is always a suggestion for a great new book.
Our family seems especially drawn to 'series' books.
Hardy Boys
Magic Tree House
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Work and the Glory
American Girl
Gary Poulson books

You name it,
it's been read here.

And of course the classics.
They are clean
and inspiring.
Perfect for our kids
and us.

Here's the honest truth,
coming from a girl who read Cliffs Notes in school
to avoid having to read a book....

Anyone can become a Reader,
and everyone should.

With all the filth the penetrates into our homes,
we have to consciously bring in 10 times more good.

Good ideas,
Good stories,
Good feelings ,
Good intention,
Good emotions....
can easily be found in a good book.

It takes really hard work to make Readers of children, teens and adults.
My suggestion is
to withstand every form of entertainment
as much as possible.
Turn off the TV,
the games,
the internet.

You will know you have achieved your goal when:

You cannot find your son or daughter,
because they are engrossed in a book,
they cannot put down.

You are going to the dentist one day,
and your kids have a book in their hand
to pass the time in the waiting room.

One morning in the middle of summer,
and your kids can think of nothing better
than a much anticipated trip to the library.

Your kids beg you to take them to Barnes and Noble....
to just look around."

And finally,
you will wake up one day
to find
an average child
just accomplished something extraordinary
because he or she
had been taught to read.

It happened for us last week,
and will definitely
happen over and over again.

From the Words of Strickland Gillilan:

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold,
Richer than I you can never be.
I had a mother who read to me.

That's the poem I heard at Women's Conference several years ago,
but in our home,
it is usually Dan who reads the children to sleep at night.
I give him all the credit for their sincere love of reading.

Is it any wonder that I found my daughter doing this one night?
Sydney couldn't wait for Maryn to be born,
so she could read to her.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Book.


Shanen said...

Can I just tell you how nice it is to read your posts. For a lady that has so much to do, (you), and me who barely gets on blogs anymore, I often find myself just clicking on yours. I always read it with a smile and have gained something in return, and I don't need to click any further. Thanks for taking the time to share your worth reading thoughts. =)PS I was happy to stare at Maryn all throughout sacrament on Sunday while Laurie was holding her. Soo cute.

Chris said...

You are an inspiration. I too love reading your posts. Thank you

Nancy Page said...

So, if you can just publish your blog into a book, I'd be a reader of books. :)
It's true what you've said. I love to read books for mothers and improvement books, but we haven't grasped the whole reading concept quite like you have, yet.
Thanks for the post.