In a recent newsletter, Comment magazine senior editor Brian Dijkema shared the following rules of parenting, and I heartily approve:
- Always be reading.
- Let your children know that you will ignore them by ignoring them in favour of what you are reading. Why? See 1. For exceptions, see 3 below.
- Unless they want to read with you. Then always read with them. Why? See 1. But also, allows you to exhibit the infinite nature of love. Yes, you love reading. Yes you love your children. Don’t choose. Read to your children because you love them as persons, but also because you love books. (Infinite love of children) (infinite love of reading) = more love. Does this make any sense? See 4 below. Any special instructions? See 5 below.
- Maybe not, but who cares? I’m still reading.
- No need for instruction (with one caveat, see 6 below): children are by nature drawn to a reading adult like a moth to a flame. At some point they will lean against you to the degree that you will tip over. Embrace this.
- Read good books, and be absolutely ruthless in not reading bad books. Isn’t this elitist? See 7 below. Also: read with some modicum of expression, please. Does this mean you need to do voices? See 9 below.
- No. The world wants you to attend to slop. Find the pearls. How will you find them? See 8 below.
- Start with Glady Hunt’s Honey for a Child’s Heart. She’ll train your eyes and ears. Sarah Mackenzie’s The Read-Aloud Family isn’t bad either.
- Of course, poppets! When else will you get to mimic a totally unreliable and catastrophic Toad without being taken in for questioning?
- Don’t let the age of your children force you to stop reading aloud. Apply rule 1 to rule 3.
- All of the above applies to you if you’re single or without kids. Find someone to read aloud to. They will love you for it. See rule 1.