Once upon a time there was a book
I don’t always take what would be considered the best of care of my books. Some of their spines have breaks in them. Some have highlights in pen or marker or pencil. Some have notes written on the sides of beloved sections. Some have pages folded back here and there. And if you look really closely, you see where a few tears have fallen in some. I like to think of all this as simply loving a book to pieces.
So what do I read? Whatever interests me—fiction, non-fiction, mysteries, classics, inspirational encouragement, leadership themes–or just someone telling me that such and such is really good book and I ought to read it. My only regret is that there is never enough time to read all that I’d like.
Roger, too, was a reader. Mostly non-fiction books on leadership and business and God and finances—many books that I would later pick up and read myself (well, ok, to be honest, I never picked up or read any of the financial books .) The only book of fiction I can ever remember Roger reading was The Shack by William P. Young–a book we both loved.
When the boys were younger, we read voraciously to them. When they were middle school age, we began composing a special summer reading list for each of them, mostly non-fiction books they would not necessarily have picked up on their own and read. We would choose 3-5 books to be read while school was out because we believed/believe in the valuable life-long take-a-ways that come from reading—discovering new ideas, appreciating another’s perspective, learning how to do something better, learning how to be better, becoming more informed, becoming wiser, being inspired by anothers creativity and imagination, being encouraged to dream bigger, being motivated to tackle difficult challenges, and understanding that there is so much more in the world than the world we know.
And now, it’s almost summer again. This year, because once again only Logan remains at home and of an age for a required reading list, I’ve begun gathering his books. This is the first time I will do this without Roger’s input on reading selections, but I think he would approve of what’s planned so far: Stomping Out the Darkness (the teen version of the Neil Anderson book Victory Over the Darkness), Do Hard Things; A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations (by Alex Harris), and Filmmaking for Teens; Pulling Off Your Shorts (by Clay Nichols, because this one of Logan’s passions). These will get him started with at least one more book (at least one biography) added in as the summer progresses.
In the end, I know I can’t make my kids love books or even value the rightness of being a reader. But I can point them down that path and hope they’ll choose to continue down it long after they’ve left their school years behind. But in the end, it’s up to them. And I’m ok with that too. They get to choose their own passions.
By the way, at 20 years of age, I think the amount of time Dylan now spends on extracurricular reading surpasses mine. He is always reading–about following God, about loving others, about how to be a good leader, about the choices others have made in their own lives and their respective outcomes, about understanding the Bible, and about what it takes to really be a man after God’s own heart. And I think all of this reading will help him be a wiser man and a better pastor one day. I know it helps him be a wiser college student and a better communicator now.
So come on in, summer. We’ve been waiting for you. After all, you, a good book and an engaged mind make for good company on any given day.