Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Hopefully things have settled down for everyone, having spent the day playing with new toys and spending time with friends and family. We have a good friend from grad school staying the week with us, and she's practically family, so we're getting both in one package. :) My daughter had the first Christmas where she really had a clue of what was going on, so it was fun to watch her. As she opened each gift (and lemme tell ya, a cute two-year-old red head makes out like a bandit) she would be so entralled she'd completely forget about the rest of the presents. She was continually surprised when there was another one for her to open. She got lots and lots of books, which, along with her baby doll and stroller that Santa brought her, are her favorite things in the world -- yes, I'm starting my kids young.

And, really, it pays off. My son is planning on majoring in creative writing, but even if he hadn't gone that route, his love of books has really broadened his mind a lot more than many of his friends. He will sit in a bookstore and read an entire book in the time it takes the rest of us to do our shopping. I have friends who say they have always hated to read, and I have never understood that. One of my friends saidd her parents made them spend an hour a day reading -- which they sorely resented. Obviously force is not the way to inspire love for something.

I think the answer is to get them fascinated early, to tap into the deep human instinct that loves a good story. People complain that our kids are so into movies and television that they never read, but really, whose fault is that? How many of those parents read themselves, much less to their kids? If you want to introduce a child to joy of reading, to the new worlds waiting to be discovered, there's no better way than to simply read to them. If you've got older kids, let them see you reading -- they may start to wonder what's so interesting!

Of course, I'm preaching to the choir here, I know. I doubt anyone without at least a passing interest in writing bothers to read my ramblings -- and every writer I know of started out by being an avid reader. But maybe we can carry the message to our non-writing friends. Maybe there's a niece or nephew waiting to be read to right now!

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