My thoughts

Is reading that important?

I can’t deny I love reading. I can’t deny that reading plays an important role in our learning. I can’t deny I OBSESS with it from time to time. I have these dreams about my daughters being exceptional readers, and maybe artists (as Honoré fantasized with his son being the next Picasso)…but after all, what’s important in your home, in your ‘homeschool’, in your life, and what’s important in your children future. Is READING the number one priority, or maybe MATH? Is it a vast history knowledge, or science, or a talent for music or a sport?

I have many friends who have children with different challenges, from the exceptional to the struggling type of challenge and every kind of label in between those poles. Our educational system spends an obnoxious amount of money on testing children when they are still ….ahem….children? Not only our public education, all of us go overboard diagnosing, testing, assessing, tutoring, re-mediating, advancing, enriching, accelerating…and what’s the purpose of all this crazy, I ponder. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not saying that if you observe your child with a struggle or a delay you won’t have to do something to help him. I’m just thinking that we have become over worried about anything less than ‘perfect’, that we are a bit fixated in our children life, like a constant Big Brother, photographing, blogging, recording and analyzing every move our children make. Here it is, that fine line again, how can I be sure I let the girls breath and figure things by themselves, and how do I know I’m not being plain lazy by not preparing opportunities that will help them grow in their abilities? My conclusion is, since we (at least I) tend to over do it, I just relax and focus on giving them time to play, time to converse, being intentional, as I’ve mentioned before, working more on me and less on ‘controlling them’, trying to be a good example for them and listening to them.

Reading is a joy and a valuable skill to possess, but no matter how good readers your children become, they can still love learning, have a decent life, even if they don’t pick a book in their spare time. My husband seldom reads any book but he studies the Bible, many around me are not what I’d call strong readers, yet they are very educated and humble people and have a simple and happy life. Actually, have you thought that academic excellency can in some cases bring lots of worldly temptations and pull you away from the Lord?

We say that other talents are equal to reading, but do we really MEAN IT? I know families where all have been great readers and some with a special talent for math. I have a friend whose father teaches math at a prestigious university and who had an admirable library at home, with Dostoevsky and many other classics that he read. All her four children but one are solid readers, all her four children but one seem to be poster child learners. And what happens with that one who doesn’t fit the mold? I’m glad my friend is very wise and loving. All her family support the children and give them enormous amounts of love, attention, help…this child is growing in the best family, he has many great things going on for him. However parents still worry and have that constant desire to understand how to better help. And there is the future, what type of society and individuals of today will be around the adult this child will be tomorrow? And what about the thousand, million others, who have been ‘labeled’ autistic, learning disabled, with dyslexia, and many more words that denote something less than perfect. I don’t know you but I don’t see the norm anymore. Is the norm the successful child who makes perfect grades and have no morals? Or the one who is depressed, medicated to succeed, medicated to be tolerated, with good grades and no motivation, or with everything in life and no relationship with our Lord, parents or others around. Will we be judgmental, will we close doors when we see these children who are not academically brilliant? Will others refuse to see the qualities of these individuals if there are not credentials to present? My friend and her husband remain very optimistic, they know with the right companion, their child has much to offer into the life of someone and into life in general. I join them too in their optimism. I know my daughters are growing in a family where they see us value others not based on material or intellectual abilities.

I still love reading, I have others who love to read in high esteem and I’m happy to see the girls learning and enjoying books read by me, they also choose to look at books themselves. They are making progress in their reading, yes, with me trying hard not to push (bad ex-teacher habit of mine 😉 and I have FAITH they will do the reading they need while at home, and later the reading they desire, and that’s O.K. What I surely hope to have helped instill in them is the love for reading His Word, that’s the important reading, if you ask me!


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