Read, Dad, Read

I was recently asked to contribute a guest blog to the BookPig April Newsletter.

No, I didn’t know who they were, either. Something about “children’s books, Netflix style.” Which I kind of maybe understand.

Okay, I don’t. No clue. I think you mail them a book . . . and they turn it into a movie? Something like that.

Click on the link above if you’re so damn curious!

Here’s the brief blog I wrote for the BookPig Team . . .

Read, Dad, Read

Ninety-five percent of parenting is showing up. It’s not epic trips to Disneyland or tickets to a fancy show. It’s about being there. It’s about the small things. And if you believe in the importance of reading, then your children need to see you reading. This is particularly true for fathers, because these days boys are increasingly getting the message that reading is a girl thing.

It’s instructive to recognize the strangeness of reading from a boy perspective. To read means to be silent, to sit still, isolated. It’s shutting one’s self off from the world, at a time when many boys desire noise, and activity, and interaction with others. Reading, in that context, is downright weird.

Why don’t more boys read? Is it in their DNA? Are the books to blame? The way the school day is structured? Is it the video games? Perhaps it’s partly all of those things. Who knows. But this we do know: Boys look up to their fathers. Just observe a little boy as Dad shaves in front of the bathroom mirror, face covered with foam.

Now imagine that same boy as he spies his father in a chair with a book — or newspaper, or magazine, or e-reader — in his lap. Dad reads. It’s a powerful, transformative message that goes to the core of a young man’s self-image. Dad reads. Now listen as father and son talk about books, perhaps debating what might happen next with a certain character; or maybe together they pore over a box score from last night’s ballgame; or they look up facts on the computer to settle an disagreement. Dad reads. Because he enjoys it. Because it’s a guy thing. Guys like finding out stuff, figuring out the world a little bit. Getting smart.

Chances are good that boy will think, “And I read, too. Just like Dad.”

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