I am so thankful for books on this Thankful Thursday…I can’t say it enough. As an avid reader from a very young age, reading has enabled me to travel the world; learn about other cultures; deepen my understanding of the human psyche; provided comfort and joy; provoked a myriad of feelings; kept me busy; took my mind off of other matters; and was always there…a constant in my life! Both of my children always saw me reading and I, of course, always read to them and introduced them to the public library at a tender age; in fact my daughter, at 3, marched into the library and requested her own library card, signed her name and she was off into the larger world of books. I know we’ve all read that if children see their parents reading they’re more apt to read, but I don’t hold onto that maxim. While teaching, I introduced my students to many, many books and always read aloud to them and encouraged their families to visit the library and gave them directions on how to obtain a library card.
Yesterday, I read a book that, since I read it in a few hours, I couldn’t put down. It wasn’t the best book that I’ve read, but it held my interest: After Visiting Friends by Michael Hainey, a memoir and I do recommend it. The day before that I read Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni…ok, not as good as her previous Sister of My Heart. Today I’ll start Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs. In the house I have the fictionalized account of Zelda, Z by Theresa Fowler, but I read a few pages and will probably return it…I much prefer the real accounts I’ve read of Zelda Fitzgerald. So, do yourself a favor, visit the public library soon, pick up a book!
“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” –Neil Postman
I have never given advice on raising children; too flawed to do that; and I’m not one of those know-it-alls who pass on advice like passing the salt. Even when I’ve been complemented on my children and how they’ve been raised, I have always said it was the luck of the draw; you can be the best parent in the world and have children that have many problems; or you can be the worst parent and somehow your kids triumph. The reality is, we never know how our children will turn out…we do the best we can, we hope for the best, but what will be, will be.
This morning, I read a lovely post on a blog that is following me and vice-versa, by a “fellow” baby boomer, My Life in My 60s. Her most recent posting concerned raising children, listening to children and how the busyness of today’s lifestyles requires parents to truly make sure they are making time to listen to their children. I responded to her immediately that I learned from my husband to “just listen.” Sounds so easy, right? I also responded that asking a lot of questions might be inherited on my part, a learned behavior or might be a cultural thing that I have had to overcome; I’m really not sure. What I do know is that I can go rapid fire from one question to the next and then find out that my husband knows more than I do when it comes to the kids’ lives (who are now 30 and 28) and when I ask him how come he knows so much more, he’ll tell me, “I just listen.” He has always just listened without judgment, without interruption, without hysteria…a wise man, a good man, an outstanding father and my soul-mate. So I agree with My Life in My 60s about the importance of listening and making enough time to listen to our children.