Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared

Last night, I finished a book called, The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma. The premise of the book was pretty simple. A girl and her father began reading each night when she was in the 4th grade, and made a commitment to read for 100 nights straight. When they hit their mark, they celebrated and then set an even loftier goal of 1,000 nights. What started out as simple way for a father and daughter to connect on a daily basis, turned into a 3,000 plus night journey affectionately dubbed, "The Streak” that lasted until she began college. As simple as the premise was in nature, its lasting impact was even greater.

Streaking, in my eyes before reading this usually dealt with running. There are lots of people out there, Ron Hill for example, who run every day and have a set of requirements, whether it be mileage or time in order for the run to count. Alice and her father also created their own set of requirements in order to count, and I can say that part of my idea for the current "262 or more" writing experiment was derived as I began reading this book. While "streaking" in running has never been something that appealed to me, it did bring to mind some ideas as a parent.

As a parent of two children, ages 4 and 7, I was impressed with the perseverance that Alice and her father displayed as life and "The Streak" collided at several points along the way. However, they had made a commitment to the "The Streak" and found a way to fit it in. It reinforced to me that even though I take my kids to the library on a semi-weekly basis, that I need to be more consistent in sitting down to read with them. As a child, I immersed myself in books and can remember many a days getting lost in a great book. My love for reading was cultivated out of this and carries over to this day. Of course that was before the explosion of technology that many children have at their disposal, and to be honest, sometimes that technology is not so great. Honestly, who needs to be engaged at all times with flat slabs that we touch and intuitively tells us what we "need"? I wonder sometimes if it isn't stifling my children's creativity and teaching them that everything can be solved with a swipe or click.

So, Alice, thank and your dad for reminding me how important it is to share my love of the written word with my children. While it's possible that I might start my own streak with my children, what I do want to expose them to is the wonders that lay between the covers.

No comments: