I remember the positive furor Dr. Ben Carson caused when he told the world about his mother. Seeing that rich people had books in the houses she cleaned for money, she came home and told her boys the TV was going off and books were coming in. Dr. Carson has since advocated and promoted literacy and reading in his political platforms.
Which is just great, when applied appropriately.
After Tad R. Callister quoted Dr. Carson’s story in an LDS talk, I heard mother after teacher after grandmother talking about how they were going to purchase more books for their shelves. Surely the presence of reading materials would encourage children and grandchildren to pick them up. Surely their offspring would grow to be neurosurgeons and members of the presidential cabinet.
I happen to be “a reader.” My children are as well. Their teachers and administrators have commented on that quality. One administrator even said, “Your boys read. You can’t teach that.”
Which is my main point, today. Having books on the shelves does nothing if you don’t pull them down. With every. single. one of my children, I have demonstrated what books do; what they contain. I’ve read to them. Sure, I’m not consistent. Each boy has had even less time with me than the one before.
But I try. Reading Ramona the Pest once a week(ish) is still better than my five-year-old thinking that staring at a phone at night is the only form of entertainment around.
Showing them that I read on my own has demonstrated that adults read, too. It’s the cool thing to do! I share things with them and discuss ideas or characters from the stories. I attend book group and have brought the older ones along.
Dr. Carson said his mother insisted they do two book reports a week. I’ve had mine do a report occasionally, but not often. Books need to be fun and not a chore.
So, moms and instructors and grandmas: pay attention. If you actually want a neurosurgeon, you’d better start practicing your own literacy. At least start practicing funny voices for the characters.
©2019 Chelsea Owens