Right now my older son and I are reading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time together. It would not be exaggerating to say that reading these chapters with him is often the highlight of my day. I LOVED this book as a child, and it’s even more fun to read it as an adult with my son. My son is enjoying it too—at least he says he is!–perhaps partly because my excitement is rubbing off on him.
Enthusiasm is contagious.
There’s not much I love more than reading favorite books with my children. I anxiously await their getting old enough to read even more of the books I loved when I was a child.
I see the same kind of excitement in my husband’s eyes when he coaches our younger son’s soccer team or watches either of our boys play this sport he has loved since he was a child. There is NOTHING more fun to him (except perhaps playing soccer himself).
A few years ago a relative told my husband and me that one secret to happy family life was having a shared hobby.
Theirs was wakeboarding. Despite their varying skill levels, the whole family wakeboarded together on weekends and on their vacations. I loved that idea and remembered wondering what our family hobby could be.
I think it’s more than just engaging in a shared hobby, however. There’s something powerful about sharing with your child something that’s been very significant in your life
—whether it’s wakeboarding, reading, soccer, cooking, crafts or something entirely different.
In sharing something with my boys that means so much to me, I’m also teaching them about myself, sharing a little of myself with them.
So there’s also a little bit of risk involved—the risk that our children may reject our interest, and that this rejection might feel a little bit like they’re rejecting us. My husband’s father was crushed when my husband stopped playing baseball to focus on soccer, and if our older son one day chooses baseball over soccer, I predict my husband will also have a tough time.
I get a small taste of this feeling when my younger son announces that he would rather play Legos or “read” by himself than with me. (He can’t quite read yet.) I’m still, however, going to continue to invite him to read with me because it’s not just about instilling in him a love of reading, as much as I hope to do just that. I also want to spend special time with him and with his brother, to create shared memories of times we both enjoyed.
I hope our times reading together are something they will remember long into the future. I know I will remember them.
What do you share with your children? What did your parents share with you? I’d love to hear about it.
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.