Every single momma knows that we should read with our people regularly–teachers tell you beginning in preschool, posters and programs and the public library proclaim it, and for those who actually watch live television, there are even public service announcements about reading to your children.
Reading equips our children to be better communicators and thinkers–I agree, wholeheartedly, with every read to your kiddo campaign–I am an english major after all. But, I’d like to add a reason to your list that the library and your child’s second grade teacher won’t tell you.
You should read with your children because stories are powerful. For generations, Christ followers have struggled with what to do with literature–they have banned it, burned it, and called it a waste of time. Though, these concerns are not often associated with children’s books, I want to assert that as mommas who are raising arrows for the kingdom, it is essential that we create habits of regularly taking in excellent stories at a young age. My argument, even though I’m an english teacher, has little to do with our children being advanced readers or better writers at school, but rather because I believe that we “…were created in the image of one who expressed his inmost nature from the beginning as the Word” (Donald T. Williams).
Of all the ways our Father could have chosen to reveal Himself to us, He chose words–He chose story. The Bible is many smaller stories all telling the greater story of God’s love for us and what He would do to preserve the chance at a relationship with us, His beloved.
So, yes, we should fill out our students’ reading logs for school, and participate in summer reading club at the library, but not just so we raise smart kids. Let us do this so we raise great storytellers. I would agree with Donald T. Williams when he writes, “…for people are most like God the Maker when they create a world and people it with significant characters out of their imagination.”
Imagine what might happen if instead of just proficient students, we were to raise up a generation of storytellers. What might happen to the music industry? What kinds of truth-filled movies might be produced that are not shallow or filled with mediocre acting, but rather stories so captivating the world can’t ignore them? What blogs might pop up? What kinds of novels and poetry? You may be raising a pastor who will help capture people’s hearts for Jesus by the use of story–Jesus sure loved to use stories.
So, read stories, tell stories, let the Bible be a BIG, glorious story in your home — let us raise up a generation who knows how to tell a good story and captivate those who don’t know our Creator.