I grew up reading as my form of entertainment and self- soothing. I would rather read than watch any show on TV. I loved to read. I finally, as a young mother, had to discipline myself not to read all the time. When I had my fourth child, I distinctly remember thinking, “Okay, I have got to stop reading all day.” This was a big shift and sacrifice for me. I guess that’s why one of my favorite book titles of all times is She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts In Moorhead, Indiana.
I owe my love for reading to my mother, who taught me to read and true to the mothering pattern of the 1960’s never felt responsible for my entertainment. Whenever I would come to her and tell her I was bored she would tell me to go read. “Go Read!” she would say. Once I figured out how the school library worked, I was off! I also spent my hard earned money on Nancy Drew books, walking to a store in downtown St. Louis as a fourth grader by myself, whenever I had enough money to buy one. I was addicted to the sleuthing teenager.
In contrast to my heavily saturated childhood of reading, my husband, Craig, said he remembers reading one book in high school. That’s it. He became an English major in college, he said, because he knew he was so weak in reading and writing and his original plan was to go to law school. He loved reading Shakespeare and admired the classic literature he studied but through his adult life he only read a few business books. I finally convinced him in his fifties to read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, because it was such an incredible book of an Olympic runner who joined the Army, survived living on a raft for 45 days and a Japanese Prison Camp.
Craig’s method of reading is to listen to Audible, the reading app, and that changed his life. He moved from Unbroken to the genre of Zombie Apocalypse novels, grew tired of those and moved to Self-Improvement and Business books. He started listening while he was running and he now listens to multiple books on Audible and the Libby app. He finishes a book a week. He listens while driving, or navigating an airport, or while he exercises. Where Craig shines is he has a remarkable memory and can retain so much better than me, the fast reader. It is so fun to find and enjoy books together now. He recently read my favorite historical fiction of 2021, The Last Green Valley, and every few chapters would let me know where he was and we would moan together over the unbelievable details. This mid-life burst has changed his career. He is brimming with excitement with all of the amazing business books that are out there. Watching all of this unfold has been such a wonder for me. Reading is truly such a gift you can give your children–or husband. Get started! It’s never too little or too late!
Becoming a reader is worth any effort of buying or finding books, going to a library and the hassle of remembering to return them. It is worth it!
Truly, with a growth mindset, we can change, from who we were in the past, or the environment we grew up in. I have watched a non-reader become an avid reader. Let’s step away from the screens we are surrounded by that do not satisfy. Dip into a new world, or get motivated or inspired. Books will enrich our lives and help us and our children become better people, more interesting and interested. A rich life takes effort. Make the effort!