Sometimes I watch the news (or my newsfeed) and I get fearful for the world that my children will live in as adults. I know that 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV) However, it can be so easy to worry about preparing them for the troubles of this world without inundating them with problems at a young age. I love how chapter three of The Read-Aloud Family talks about the effects of reading aloud about great heroes and the positive effects it can have on our children.
I want my children to grow up to be prepared to stand up for truth. I want them to be willing to do great things for the Lord even in the face of adversity. I know that they may well face persecution for staying true to their beliefs and I’m often not sure how to prepare them for that possibility without unnecessarily scaring them. Realizing that I am preparing them to stand up to those challenges simply by reading them stories of others that have acted heroically.
When we read the Chronicles of Narnia or the Green Ember my children learn that there may be difficulties, ‘white witches’ and ‘lords of prey’ but that they can stand up to them and fight the battles that lie ahead. We read about sad times and troubling abuse in The War that Saved My Life but they learn that people can make a real positive difference in the lives of others. All of these important life lessons simply through picking up a book and reading.
We have to push forward and make decisions about what is worth out time and what is not-about what gets our best attention, what gets our peripheral attention, and what gets no attention at all.
In chapter four, she switches from the ideals of heroism to the academic effects of reading aloud. Often I think we tend to worry that when we focus on our ‘ideals’ we neglect the academics or vice versa and struggle to find that balance.
I struggle in trying to challenge them academically, guide and nurture them spiritually, spend quality time enjoying each other, and all of the other necessary tasks in life (for some crazy reason my kids all want three meals a day and a number of snacks.) This means that my attention is pulled in many directions and I sometimes have to say no to good things in order to focus on what is best.
I love how these two chapters show that reading aloud is beneficial both in sharing our family ideals and in strengthening academics. We do not have to choose, we can work on both at the same time. The story of the young college student who thought she was short changed because she had less math and science but more reading really stuck out to me. I have often said that if you could read you could learn anything you needed to know, but I love seeing a real life example of that philosophy.
I’ll end this post with the quote that ended chapter four because I think it sums up so well the benefits of reading aloud. ” And so, while I continue to daydream and wonder about what my children will one day become and what great vision God has for each of their lives, I’ll do the one thing I know will best prepare them for it all. It’s free. Its easy. And it’s the most effective way to help my kids succeed academically. I’ll read aloud. “
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