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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Reading is Fundamental

Matthew (2015) Sarah (2012) Glen (2018)
I homeschooled my 3 youngest children until they started high school. I wanted them to have a special high school experience in making new friends, involvement in groups and activities, prom, football games. I kept them active and busy when I was homeschooling, but I knew that the last of these formative years would be good for them at a high school. It was the best decision I ever made. Not only were they academically successful, their youth had not been robbed from them by bullies and horrible experiences in elementary and middle school years.
I read to them daily. I taught them to read and write as well. They were all reading simple elementary books at 2-3 years old. It was amazing. I was blessed, however, in being able to stay home with my children full time while building my own career as an artist. That fact doesn't escape me.
The greatest joy for me as a mother was when my children learned a new word, a new concept, a new math equation, or something new. From birth to now, it is still exciting to me to see how far my children have come. College, marriage, scholarships, successes, lots of writing and music. It is the greatest reward I have ever received in life.
Sadly, so many children come from broken homes, and the stress on the parent raising them is enormous. Or, the parent(s) are so exhausted from a tough work day that they are too tired to help their children with their homework or even speak to them. It seems that many children have no real guidance at home anymore. The parents provide a place to live and the fundamentals for living while their children grow up, but the example as parent, teaching virtue, compassion, morality, values, a strong work ethic, building integrity and empathy, sharing, reading, conversation about what they read, or their day, and giving them the security they need to grow up feeling completely loved, cared for, and educated are tough to come by anymore. Seems that that family model is almost completely gone. Sadly, more children are raised in a home of disinterested parents than not. Not all mind you, but many more than we'd like to admit.
I pray the family model moves forward and teaches us all how to be better parents. Parenting is DIFFICULT!! Believe me, we've all made our share of human mistakes in parenting out of hurt, frustration, stress, financial crisis, relationship strains, whatever. But putting God, family, our children, and education, first, in "our" home, was the model that best worked for us. Not everyday, but I would say most days.
There is never a "right" time to have a child, or children. A person's place in life, age, maturity, personal life experiences and lessons, financial standing, home life and relationships, relationship with God, all play a strong role in parenting and raising a child. The stars are never perfectly aligned, and there will always be hardship, loss, crisis, tragedies, unemployment, something, that throws a wrench in our life and plans, making it even more difficult to be a good parent. Mix that up with our own set of emotions, and you've got more a stew for disaster than success. As parents, we must make an effort to do our best - as often as possible. It's not easy. Personalities will clash with your children at some point. It's teaching them about life, and how we, as parents deal with tough times and circumstances can be even more difficult. But parents need to be involved.
Communication is key. Reading about something together. Talking about the news of the day. Asking your children questions about their experiences or views of how they think they would have handled a particular issue or problem, friendship, or something else. Healthy communication with parents, guardians, a trusted adult, a teacher, or grandparent, or caring neighbor, is lacking for so many of today's children.
And that there lies the problem - lack of engagement with our children, for whatever reason.
Reading is by far the best gift we can give our child. It prepares them for school, life, and an opportunity to grow and mature, learn and express their opinions, and be comfortable being focused on their readings and having alone time too. There are far too many "idiots" in this country. And for many, its because they weren't afforded a good start in life.
I wish we could change the trajectory of family and raising children and be an example to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, it is getting far worse than better. What are we to do? Hopefully, those who do care will have set an example for their own children to pass it on generation to generation. Stop the complacency and blind interest. Be involved.
Here is the article that inspired me to write this post:
Remember ... "Reading is Fundamental"


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