Elihu’s Note: I submitted this article to The Courage yesterday morning, and when I came out of my room to make breakfast, my oldest girl was sitting on the couch… engrossed in a good book!
My first child put me through some intense on-the-job parent training. On the day she was born, I didn’t even know how to change a diaper (I learned quickly). Four months later—after developing skills in diapering, feeding, and sleep-training—I read a brief snippet that parents should read to their babies. Of course, the book didn’t provide any “how-to” advice. Unsure how this would play out, I nestled my baby in my lap with a shiny, durable, board book and started pointing at pictures. I tried reading as much text as I could spit out before she flipped to the next page, and she would laugh at my speedy attempt to finish sentences (this eventually became a favorite game).
While much of the text often went unread, there was an abundance of belly laughter, babbling, and broken board books. When she was two years old, our nightly reading made it so she could practically recite Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish in her toddler twang.
At age four, she picked up our newly acquired The Cat in the Hat and read it herself.
My little girl is almost ten—and a voracious reader. Parenting taught me how truly impressionable children are and how one seemingly small routine can shape their interests. Not only is my oldest a total bookworm, but her siblings have picked up the habit as well. My kids successfully roped their Father (not exactly a bookworm) into reading the Fablehaven series. They also set aside a little of their earnings each week in a book sale envelope so they can stock up on used books at the library sale.
Many other side-benefits have come out of our family book habit:
Kirk Cameron is launching a new course called “Heart of the Family” in which he and his wife Chelsea share biblical principles they have used in their 25 years of marriage and parenting. If you sign up by August 21st, you’ll receive 20% off the cost!