Reading is the gift that gives and if you’re a parent, what it gives is a blessed silence. I was interested to read a recent study that said despite a general decline in reading, girls today aged 6-13 years were actually more interested in picking up a book. As a bibliophile, I think this is great. As a dad of twin girls aged six, I think this is awesome.
You see I love books. A lot. And I’ve always worried a bit about forcing my loves onto the girls. After all, they’re already just as likely to dress up as a superhero as they are a princess – which of course makes me wonder how often we influence our kids subconsciously?
I’ve been careful to not force reading on my girls as I didn’t want them to shy away automatically from something that has given me countless hours of joy in my life. I don’t want it be a chore: I want it be a love.
As someone who used to devour books of all genres (pre-kids, when I had the time), my passion for stories has been with me for as long as I can remember. It’s only natural that I want my girls to experience the same exultation when Aragorn is crowned king and surprise when it’s Neville Longbottom who destroys the last horcrux.
And yes, also the heavy sobbing when Charlotte the spider dies.
Because good books are about life: whether it be hopes and dreams or shared emotional experiences. Good and bad. We lose ourselves in books but we find ourselves there as well.
The study also found that girls are more likely to read than boys. This is surprising only to those who haven’t spent time around teenage boys. Teenage boys are too distracted by sports, hormones and girls to worry about books. They seem incapable of reading a situation let alone a hardcover.
And while my girls will have to face those same boys (at an age of life I don’t wish to think about too much), I know they’ll go in armed with knowledge. With imagination. With a love of life fuelled by words. With the experiences of a thousand authors to guide them.
Because at the end of the day we become the books we read.