I vividly remember watching my mother’s facial expressions when she read to me; her eyes widened, squinted, and then shifted from the book to me, her mouth moving in ways I was only beginning to explore.
Happily for me, that was quite often. She would cast a spell, and out of her mouth came the most interesting and exciting things! I was guided to imagine all sorts of things — actual and pretend — to step into a rich treasure of people, places, and things I could learn, know, or believe.
I thought everything she chose to read was uniquely just for me.
How reading as a simple ritual bonds kids to parents for life.
1. Reading is a gift
When we gift children with reading, there are so many lasting benefits.
As the recipient of loving attention and focused care, a child feels and understands the ability to receive love and attention positively. To appreciate the receiving of love and care is a vital skill to have as an adult.
Reading to a child builds self-esteem and strengthens the bonds with adults in a way that simply talking never will. The feeling of being the center of focus is such a valuable gift to a child. Think about it: everybody talks. Mostly too much, and about themselves or problems. Who reads to you? Only someone deeply connected to you who cares a lot about you.
2. Reading teaches us that if we can conceive and believe, we can do
It was accurately said, “What a man’s mind can conceive and believe, that man can do.”
So if having a strong imagination and a highly developed right brain (where emotions, imagination, and unconscious mind are) is a valuable attribute, and it is, being verbally escorted through the magic, mystery, drama, thrills — and learning that accompany reading is a huge endowment to a child’s future skill sets.
Installing solid beliefs of confidence, personal strength, insight, intelligence, competency, poise, and even courage is part of the skill set you’d like your child to have — then read, read, read. It will teach them how to be curious and creative.
3. Reading creates awe
If you read to a child often enough, they will have a certain awe of you as an adult.
How much more you know than them, how wise you are in the ways of so many things so new to the child, and the fact that you, through reading and sharing your valuable time with them, offer them what you know will make the child feel your love and respect and appreciate you for it.
The building block of trust starts with respect, so reading often to a child creates lifelong deference, respect, and parent-child boundaries that will make them feel safe and self-assured as they grow up and explore the world.
Julie Nise is a Marriage/Couples Counselor who helps couples change the future by putting their awareness on the future.