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Perhaps it’s a bold statement, but reading to your children is one of the most important gifts you can give them.
The importance of reading to children can make a huge difference in their life. Emilie Buchwald said,
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
Reading matters to me because I have a mother who read to me. I grew up in a broken home but I remember the times we shared together—just reading. I was even recently speaking with my sister and we were discussing how we both now read to our children.
Specifically, I remember when I was about 8 years old. I would sit down next to my mom and we’d open up those books together. These are some of my fondest childhood memories. Reading with my mom sparked my love of learning.
Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I picked up Tom Clancy and devoured other large books as well. The more I read, the more I loved reading. Even though I was a slow reader—and struggled a bit—my mom had lit the reading fire within me. And, to me, that’s when my true education began—as an inspired loved of learning.
Just by taking the time to read with me, my mom inspired me to love learning. Such a seemingly little thing, yet what a huge benefit came from it—to me and to my own children.
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So, let me challenge you today to read to your kids—every day. Even if you’re tired. You don’t have to read a chapter out of a Tom Clancy book. Just a short chapter from any book. Why? Three important gifts come from regular reading
- a lifelong love of learning
- the opportunity to discuss and internalize life principles
- parent/child bonding
Life-Long Love of Learning
Becoming a lifelong learner is a huge benefit your kids will gain from reading with you. You’ll light that fire of excitement for learning. That learning will, in turn, spark their curiosity and willingness to explore the world around them.
I went from living in the streets—depressed and broke ignorant and lonely—to now living a phenomenal life. I credit a big part of that comeback with a willingness to learn that started with my love for reading.
Discuss & Internalize Principles
The second important gift you’ll give your kids is discussing great principles and ideas. As you do that, things will start to happen—great things! Some changes you’ll notice immediately. Other changes will take place gradually. Your kids will start to make better decisions. They’ll start to be more mature, self-reliant, and independent because they’ll making the connections between the ideas you discuss together.
Then they’ll start putting together the pieces when you’re out experiencing life together. They’ll see something in person and remember the time you read about it. They’ll remember the discussion you had. They’ll make the connections as they start to build life values and principles. That’s why you need to read great books—not garbage—so you can have great discussions. The goal isn’t to get through the book, it’s to get the book into you and into them.
My wife and I have always been on the same page together when it comes to the importance of reading—and that’s made all the difference. We read together and we’ve grown together. We captured a vision together so our lives work together.
The third gift that comes from reading with your kids is the bonding. There’s a connection that happens when you’re together with your kids. You’re reading so they have to be quiet. Or they’re reading so you have to pay attention. I get to bond in the morning by reading from the Bible. Then my wife takes over. She reads throughout the day while most of my reading together time is at night. Every night before bed, we read great books together and we’re able to bond by learning together.
So I challenge you from this day forward to spend time reading with your spouse and with your kids. I promise it will make a noticeable difference in your life!