Childhoods of world changers, deep thinkers, and entrepreneurs intrigue me. I always wonder how they were inspired to be what they became. Being a parent, I wonder their role. So, I read Richard Branson’s piece on his parents, particularly his mother’s, influence on his life, with great interest. #the virginway.
I aspire to inspiring my sons to change a part of the world or all of it. So, before I forget, due to advancing maternal age (maternity joke older moms might get), I will tell you how books came to be important in our household and my children’s lives.
I did not set out with a Book Seduction plan. It just evolved. I had to first survive a I-will-have-every-brain-cell-left-postpregnancy-of-your-attention-mom-mom-mom-mom toddler. In order to brush my teeth, I instituted Reading After Nap Time. There was a big big stack of library books in crib he could look at after his shrinking naps. Ruined books fines were just a line item survival necessity in the budget, like coffee or gas for the car.
Later, there were more boys. Going anywhere with 4 endlessly competing testosterone factories is a loud boisterous (note the word is not girl-sterous) affair. I discovered audiobooks. Ceasefires occurred, kids did not unbuckle their carseats, peace fell across the land and the turn of a phrase was heard with the pin drop. Sometimes, we would even sit in the car at our destination to finish the story.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then boredom facilitates reading. Computer limited and longing for noise-cancelling headphones, I left stacks of books here and there about the house. When a boy would whine about the boring day, I would open my eyes wide and innocently say, “Well, you can either clean the toilet or read a book.” Case closed.
Books even helped me through the melt down years when life as I knew it fell apart and I entered the unknown frontiers of divorce proceedings and single parenthood. Nobel peace prize to the people inventing audiobooks and ipods!! I did try to enlist the older boys to read to the youngers…(experienced parents may laugh out loud here).
And so my children acquired vocabularies and fell in love with stories, metaphors, ideas, books, and self motivated learning. They are learning from some of the great thinkers and yarn spinners of all time. They read. They collect books. My youngest hurls words and phrases from books around like the president’s speech writers. My oldest son’s Good Read list is 592 books long.
And no one was hurt during the execution of the Great Book Seduction experience.
9 Ways to Get Your Kids to Love Books
1. Inspire. You read, quote, and collect books.
2. Buy books for every and all occasions.
3. Don’t buy toys but be a push over for buying books.
4. Make them a captive audience. Read during dinner and when they are strapped down by seatbelts.
5. Make it fun. Read by the fire, in a tree, on the beach.
6. Make it loud. Audiobooks. Unabridged by the way. LOVE you people!
7. Get inside jokes from books. Laugh and repeat jokes.
8. Decorate with books and reading materials.
9. Turn off the electronic devices often.