Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Something [worthwhile] to Think About...

I love books! And books are the key to giving your child something worthwhile to think about.

[Note: This is part four of a four part entry about Being Real Moms and Shepherding your flock.
To read the blog about Something to Love, please go here, for something [worthwhile] to do go here and for the beginning of this topic you can go to Real Moms, Shepherding your Flock .]

[Chad reading to Kari and Scotty]
Through great literature you child can have unending worthwhile things to think about. The secret is to read to your child. Read, read, read! Read when they are just born and read to them when they are teens.

A child's mind feeds on ideas--they need to be exposed to great books and then have unstructured time to think and imagine and to sort things out. Real, LIVING books enliven a child's mind. I am talking about good fiction, biographies and interesting factual books. NOT textbooks! Textbooks are pre-digested works, summarizing what the author(s) thinks is important. UGH! A textbook will tell you what the author thinks, such as "the three causes of the depression"--REAL books will let the child discern the causes, the results and they way people were affected.

Real or Living books make a child more curious, stir his imagination and encourage independent thoughts and ideas.

By reading books to your child you can bring him a world that otherwise would be out of his reach. You can read books to your child that he will enjoy and learn from that may be above his reading level. Also, as you read you can discuss your world view and pass on your core beliefs by discussing the characters, themes and plots with your child!

Kari and I loved [and still love] the Little House on the Prairie Books. We made doughnuts, churned butter, made biscuits, ground wheat and discussed things like family responsibility, hard work and honor. And actually, if the truth be told, Kari is named after Carrie Ingalls in the Little House books. I am sure many of you have a favorite book that somehow changed your life--they are that powerful.

I remember reading Carry on Mr. Bowditch aloud to various kids through the years. I love that book. It is a biography about Nathaniel Bowditch , beginning when he was a child. He was a brilliant man. As I read this to my kids, the one thing that stuck out in my son Chad's mind was how Nathaniel taught himself languages. He would get a grammar and a New Testament in the language he wanted to learn and would start translating the book of John "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God..."

This idea so impressed Chad that he began to learn Spanish just this way. About 5 years after I read this book to him he came home with a Spanish New Testament and said if Nathaniel Bowditch could do it, so could he. What an awesome way to give our children heroes and something worthwhile to think about.

Another book that made a huge impression on a couple of my children was The Endless Steppe
by Esther Hautzig. This book is an autobiography of Esther as a youth when she was exiled from Poland to Siberia during World War 2. This book taught us about unfairness, prejudice and about making the best of a terrible situation. We also learned a lot about the war, geography and so much more.

I think, through good literature you can teach your children to love what is good and noble and also to discern what is not good and not noble. You can explore places, people and situation you would never be able to do in several lifetimes--all through books.

Books give your child something worthwhile to think about.

In summary, we can lead our flock by being an example. We need to treat our spouses, our in-laws and our neighbors with respect and dignity.We are to be an example to our flock but in order to do this we must spend time [quality and quantity] with our flock-- being an example, because we are willing and because Christ calls us to a life of service and humility.
[I had been reading, just set down the book. I don't have any pictures of me actually reading to the kids--I guess we were to engrossed in the stories to take pictures!]

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