Tag Archives: books

Worthwhile Investment

I left the library after picking up a book I had reserved. As I walked to my car I was suddenly transported back in memory to a time when my young boys and I visited the library every week.

We’d go home with stacks of books and I read to them regularly. Dr Suess. Chronicles of Narnia. Little House On The Prairie. Silly books. Fun books. Historical books. Bible stories. Informational books. Series books.

I wanted them to love books and words as much as I do (you can read about that here). I wanted to instill in them a love for reading.

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Because I also enjoy music, our boys were exposed to it as well. We were in church a lot, so of course, hymns and contemporary choruses and worship music, but also other genres.

We traveled to local concerts. Bill Gaither and the harmonies of the Gaither Vocal Band. Free symphony orchestra concerts in the park on summer nights. The New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra with invites by a friend who played violin there. Veggie Tales. The Donut Man. Ron Kenoly. The Blue Man Group. The Annie Moses Band and more.

We brought a video home one day, “Yanni, Live At The Acropolis.” David watched, mesmerized by the incredible solo of the band’s drummer. He watched it over and over and decided he wanted to play drums. We bought a cheap set, put it in the corner of the basement and signed him up for weekly lessons. He was nine years old and took lessons for the next five years. Eventually he started playing at church and youth group.

The year of Florida’s hurricane summer, 2004, the power was off at our house consecutively for twelve days. Besides cutting and hauling the mountains of trees that had fallen on the two and a half acre jungle lot of our Kissimmee home, there was nothing else to do but sweat. David pulled his father’s old guitar out of the back of a closet and started playing. His love for creating music exploded from there.

Our son grew up to love God, books, music and of course his wife, Clara, who is also an avid reader and book lover. They serve in several capacities at their church and Dave will soon be a published author and writes his own music, both lyrics and arrangements. (You can see all that here.)

I like to think I had a little something to do with that. Though we never pushed becoming a writer or musician on our son, exposing him to these things gave him interests to explore and options to consider.

If your children are small right now and time consuming and exhausting and wonderful and amazing and annoying and the myriad of things kids can be at any given moment, remember these few years you have to invest in their lives are incredibly influential and fleeting.

You are not yet seeing the long term dividends of the repetition, the monotonous and the consistency of your faithful parenting, but know this, what is important to you will very likely be important to them and will definitely help shape who and what they become.

Remember on the days it seems futile, when it appears you’re child is not listening, when you wonder if they’ll ever turn into useful humans…

Don’t. Give. Up.

Don’t wring your hands in despair.

Pray much.

Train up your child in the way he/she should go.

Keep doing the next right thing.

Expose them to God, His love, His word and principles and the beautiful and amazing things that still exist in the world.

There will come a day when you’ll have a memory triggered, as I did leaving the library last night, and realize…

It was all worth it.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Lifetime Love Affair

I grew up in a home with no TV. 

And yes, there were cars back then, for those of you who are now wondering how old I am. 

There were even TVs back then, we just didn’t have one. 

Every Friday my dad would grocery shop after work and take me to the library on his way to the store. I’d search row after row of shelves for books that I hadn’t read yet, check out the maximum amount allowed (ten, I think) and read them before the following Friday. 

This scenario would repeat weekly.

While my friends were rushing home from school to watch cartoons; Popeye, Looney Tunes, The Three Stooges and the Little Rascals, I went home to read. 

And I couldn’t wait.                                  

Words threaded together, creating pictures, people and stories have intrigued me as far back as I can remember. As I read descriptions of places and personalities, I would imagine them in my mind. I could see it all, the backdrops, settings and what each person looked like.

I’ve been disappointed more than once by a movie based on a book because what was on the screen looked like nothing I had created inside my head.

Many a night, when I should have been asleep, I was under the blankets with a flashlight and a book I couldn’t put down. 

There was nothing worse than leaving a good story right in the middle, to go to school, take out the trash, help Dad in the yard or Mom in the kitchen and be left wondering the entire time, what was going to happen next. 

By the time I was in middle school I had a fondness for horse stories; Misty, Black Beauty and My Friend Flicka, to name just a few. 

In high school I was reading classics; Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, Moby Dick, Call of the Wild, Pilgrims Progress, Gone With the Wind, The Chronicles of Narnia and the works of Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.

I’ve had a lifetime love affair with books and reading was and still is one of my favorite getaways, a form of relaxation and fun. 

It’s hard to be a decent writer without reading. Because I enjoyed reading so much, I also developed a fondness for writing. 

Putting my thoughts into words forces my mind to be deliberate about my own opinions, viewpoints and desires. Seeing my heart written out in black and white give me reason to be both intentional and reasonable in how I think about life and the myriad of emotion and events swirling around me. 

Writing keeps me centered and is my therapy. 

I’m currently taking a writer’s course and am being told that reading has changed in America.

Technology and finger tip access to information, texting, social web pages and constant entertainment has moved our attention span meter next to zero. The latest generation now reads and writes in small bites (or should it be bytes), if at all. 

“LOL!” (laughing out loud, for the few who may not know)

“OMW “ (on my way)

“Where R U?”

I’ve been informed that people don’t read anymore, they scan, scrolling thru web pages on mobile devices faster than film frames roll in an animated movie. 

Writers are being told to create shorter sentences that are “tight” and have punch, be more attentive to white space in relation to words on a page and hook people with interest and excitement in the first paragraph to instantly catch and keep their attention.

While these are good writing techniques to follow, I admit to being disappointed for the reason they are being suggested.

Maybe I’m old-school; after all I grew up without a TV… 

But…instead of dumbing down our writing, how about we teach kids to read again. Really read. 

Gather our children around us on the sofa. Turn off the TV, smart phone and tablet and read a book out loud. Together. 

Find time during the day; at breakfast before school, after dinner or at bedtime, whatever works for the family schedule, to read.

Start when the kids are little. Let them fall in love with books.

Statistics show that children who are read to and who read do better in school and become lifelong learners. 

And if that isn’t enough motivation, some of those readers could become famous authors, publishing book after made-for-movie book, creating sufficient wealth to take care of you into your old age.

So read, read, read!

P.S. I hope you didn’t just scan this post but actually read it.