Recently I attended a funeral of a person I held in high esteem. The tributes to this fine lady were well deserved and well spoken.Of all the remarkable achievements this individual had accomplished perhaps the most profound statement to me was a tribute made by her son when he stated that one of the most important things his mother had taught him and given to him was a love of reading.
He humbly declared what a gift that had been in his life and how extremely grateful he was to his mother for always taking the time to read a story to him. Surprisingly, he mentioned that even while in high school his mother would read to him and how he and his mother travelled the world, many time over, through the pages of books.
This past month a few of us at the District Office have had the pleasure of reading to various classes throughout our elementary schools. What joy it has been to see several classes crunch together to hear a story. What fun it has been to see their different expressions as the plots unfold. The discussions after were priceless as each child had their own interpretation of the tale.
In a world of instant media, video game overload and marketing madness, taking time to read to a child verges on the realm of almost being a sacred experience. Our future generations need these moments where the loud world of advertising and enticing messages are held at bay by page turning books that delight and inspire. When we do this we convey far more than the story, we let them know they matter and they are our investment in the future. To be able to expand their minds and take them to far away places is exhilarating. It is one of life’s sweetest pleasures, you have focused time together and you can teach a habit that can open countless doors throughout their lives.
Reading exercises our brains and improves concentration. Reading teaches children about the world around them. Through reading they learn new vocabulary skills, they develop more highly developed language all of which helps in their ability to write, imagine and understand. Harry Truman is credited with the quote “not every reader is a leader, but every leader must be a reader.”
This past summer one of my goals was to locate a book that was read to me by my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Smith. It was called “The Gentle House”. I remember coming in from recess and having her read this book to our class. She would laugh as she recited some of the antics of the family. I remember well how she delighted in turning the pages and watching our class as we went through the chapters. Fortunately, I did locate an old copy. Strangely enough as I have turned the pages it has brought a sense of warmth, comfort and tranquility, after all those years.
If you get the opportunity to read to a child I hope you seize the moment. There’s a reading genre for every person on the planet, classical literature, poetry, biographies, self-help guides, fiction, or non-fiction. I know there will be something out there to capture your curiosity and imagination. When you open a book, especially with a child near by, you have the power to impact their world in infinite ways and while doing so you will replenish your soul.
My Best To You Always,