My daughter loves to look through her rather large collection of children’s books. And she’s very methodical about it. She’ll pull a book off the bookshelf, scan each page, maybe pointing out a duck or a pig, and then looking up at me to say, “the end!” She does it without fail. Then she puts that book aside and gets another one from the shelf, with the same enthusiasm fitting for a 2-year old. But don’t try to read the story to her—she won’t have it. Her imagination must be working overtime.
It saddens me that people in the U.S. are reading less. I’m sure that’s a global reflection of people reading fewer books. So as I sit here with my daughter looking over the pages of a pop-up book, I hope this is a good sign. I hope her love of books is embedded in her DNA. My son really enjoys sitting on the couch as I read to him, which is a good sign. They certainly see me with my nose in a book, a cup of hot tea cooling next to me. And their father often can be found with a newspaper in hand, or a dog-eared paperback in tow.
If we teach by example, then she is also teaching me to take time for simple pleasures. Watching her giggle as she flips through the pages touches me in a way I never could have imagined. It reminds me of the special relationship each of us has with a good book. We invest our time into activity that yields a different experience no matter how many times we do it. My daughter knows this. And one day, despite the statistics, she’ll realize that in homes everywhere, in bookstores and libraries and communities worldwide, a story is being told, and that connects us all.
For more endings and beginnings, check out Sunday Scribblings.