Years ago I heard a talk given by President Thomas S Monson entitled Hallmarks of a Happy Home . The portion of this talk that left the deepest imprint was the 2nd hallmark: our homes needed to be a library of learning. I love this little poem he read in this talk:
Books are keys to wisdom’s treasure;
Books are gates to lands of pleasure;
Books are paths that upward lead;
Books are friends. Come, let us read
From that moment on my home became filled with good books, tools for learning, and a focus on learning about the world around us.
I still remember the first time I read a book to my children that was a book they could not read themselves. We were camping and every evening as the fire was being built I would read one of my childhood favorites Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. The children sat in their little camp chairs hanging on every word and giggling in the funny moments and rolling on the ground in laughter at the thought of cereal being dumped over Fudges head. Of all the things we did that camping trip the one they still talk about to this day is reading around the fire and having grasshoppers and worms for dessert. A tradition was born on both accounts. No matter where we go on vacation they know there is going to be a book to be read.
I am always reading with my children. We read our scriptures and they have things they need to read to me for school. I go to their classrooms 5 times a week and read with them and their classmates for 7 hours. We have 20-30 minutes set aside after school for them to read. l felt like I was doing a good job as a parent with the whole reading to my children thing.
Last fall on a whim I bought tickets to a play for our family to see-Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My children actually love plays and so I was super excited to surprise them with a night out. As I was buying these tickets I noticed they were also selling ticket to 2 other productions I thought my children would love-Anne of Green Gables and The Jungle Book. I was super excited to buy my first Christmas gift. Along with buying tickets for these shows I bought the books as well. They were so excited as they unwrapped their books Christmas morning but imagine their surprise when they opened up the front cover and discovered theater tickets too!
Something however from the time of buying those tickets to Christmas morning happened, a thought that just would not leave my mind was, I needed to start reading to them everyday starting now. Not just on vacation, not just the scriptures, not special books to read before we attend a play, not the homework books but books I love and I need to do it everyday.
Now I pick a book and I read as the boys doodle or play with Legos(read the book The Mind of Boys and you will understand why allow my boys to play or doodle while I read) and my girl is always snuggled right next to me. Have we done it everyday, no life gets in the way sometimes. Have I picked books that have epically flopped(Oliver Twist) and I would have to stop reading it and pick a new one, absolutely. We have made adjustments here and there but we gather we read.
These sweet moments filled with the spirit with my children all gathered around me as I read has been and will be one of the moments as a mother I will cherish in the deepest part of my soul forever!
*by the way I am reading Willawaw by Tom Bodett to all of them and Julianna and I are reading Anne of Green Gables in preparation to attending the play shortly.