My mother made me read as a child.
I don't just mean that she encouraged me to. I mean that she made me. Reading was not just an acceptable pass time in our house. It was a requirement. I was the only kid in my pre-school who could read and write. And my mother expected me to outperform the statistics every year of my academic career. Which I did, without fail.
I remember one specific year as a very young child, bringing home a quarterly report-card that showed my reading was "acceptable". My Mother's immediate response was to get rid of our television and to buy me a stack of new books. At the time, I genuinely hated her for it. I remember sneaking off to my sister's house to watch television and cursing my bad fortune. But looking back, I never under performed again, and my entire lifestyle now can be rooted back to that one decision.
For the rest of my academic career, my reading level stayed a minimum of three grades above where I should have been.
Some of you read this story and you wonder to yourself if maybe my mother's expectation was a little harsh. But I don't think so. She never degraded me or judged me if I could not achieve something. She just believed that I could achieve it, and taught me to believe that I could achieve it. And then celebrated me when I did.
I am so grateful for a mother who made reading non-negotiable.
Because my mother made me read, I was fortunate enough to spend my early years being recognized as exceptional. Because of her decision, I received an education that far surpassed what my teachers had the time or energy to give me. Because of her decision, my vocabulary and my creativity developed so rapidly that I won scholarships to attend incredible schools that I may not have been able to attend otherwise and learned to think outside of the box. Because of her decision, I developed an unshakable confidence and an unbreakable belief that I could be anything I wanted to be. And despite what anyone thinks of me or my decisions, no one can argue that I am not doing exactly what I want to do with my life.
My mother's determination to make reading a part of my life set me on a course to be, and do, everything I wanted. Outside of the will of God, I attribute the entire direction of my life to her.
Reading is not negotiable.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject! Do you think it is important for us to make reading a part of our children's lives, and do you think doing so will have a positive effect in their lives? Share in the comment section below.