Sometimes, I think we live in a time of "required intensity" for our children. At eight years old, our son is already being asked to choose his favorite sport, devote all of his time to it and give up every other activity. Each time we commit to an activity, for either our son or our daughter, there are multiple forms to sign, indicating our absolute dedication to avoiding all scheduling conflicts.
The message seems to be: "You must want to do this activity, all the time, every day."
My husband and I, when recently lamenting this state of affairs, came around to asking ourselves what, if anything, our children would actually want to do, everyday?
Unexpectedly, then, we actually had an answer. Read.
Yes, read. Not all day, but every day. It's the one thing that they both do, without nagging, without complaint, voluntarily.
How did this happen?
As parents, we are voracious readers. Are reading habits genetic?
Probably not. But there are many things that parents can do to "Grow Bookworms," as Alisha Gale so wisely lists in her Power of Moms blog.
In our house, reading is the one thing that a six year old girl and an eight year old boy can agree on. They can be in the same room, together, reading. The older one recommends books for the younger one. The two of them actually have the same sense of humor, so joke books can be shared. Longer, more challenging books are read, at night, with either my husband or me, and we've been shocked at the depth of conversation that this 20 minutes of "still time" can inspire.
I can create a long list of parenting mistakes that we've made, but it seems that this love of reading is one for the good list.
We'll keep at it, in between team practices and signing paperwork.