It had not all been play and fun trips for the boys this summer. They're registered at the Durham County Library, and we've had countless trips there, checking out books and educational DVDs, with the boys using their own library cards. Matthew was also in the Summer Reading Program which offered incentives (prizes) after every 10 days of reading. Between M and AJ alone, we had brought home and returned at least 48 kiddie books in the last month alone. Here's the last list of those we toted back to the Library:
We Three Kings
Trust Me, Mom!
Hello Ocean - Hola Mar
Animals Are Sleeping
Piglet and Mama
You're Too Small
Winners Never Quit
Yuck! A Toad
Favorite Mother Goose Rhymes
The Colors of My Jewish Year
My First Nursery Rhymes
My First Songs
Thomas and the Animals
As you can see, they didn't need to be impressive, they just had to be FUN.
With the advent of all this hi-tech stuff these days, so many children (some as young as three) are already prolific PSP handlers, owners of ipods, and strongly compete with adults in the use of computers. Our sons are no exceptions, but the house restrictions apply. The computer has a password (Aris is setting up the other one now, and M has gotten it into his head to put in HIS own password, to protect it against US), and has played with his PSP only twice (last Christmas, and last month, for his birthday). He WAS big on his ipod but the honeymoon feeling lasted only for about a week. Now he'd rather follow the song and dance moves of his favorite teeny-boppers as they pop up on tv. And then again, when they are on the internet or watching tv, we are there to screen the shows.
Otherwise, it's hit the books instead. Not that they are excuses for the lack of better shows. They're just always there.
Books occupied my summers when I was a little girl. They kept me away from silly gossip and boy talk when I was growing up. These days, they provide inspiration for my blogs.
We had no Summer Reading Programs when I was seven. Nor did we need one. The nuns drilled us on Reading and Phonics, and this Catholic magazine whose name escapes me. Kids were made to stand in the corner in front of the class if they didn't know how to pronounce (I was spared that, thank goodness). And at home, our mothers and fathers (mothers more than fathers) made sure we spoke and wrote English as it should be spoken and written. I cannot remember a household without a complete set of encyclopedia, or a giant Webster's dictionary, alongside stacks of Reader's Digest magazines, and a Bible. All my childhood friends had and probably still have theirs in their homes.
It was such an ordinary thing not only for myself but for families like mine, at least in the town where I grew up, to live with books. We thumbed through countless card catalogues for researches and book reports in libraries FROM GRADE SCHOOL ALL THROUGH COLLEGE and didn't mind it. From that we learned organization and patience. In contrast, all that the librarians do now is punch in a few buttons, and ta-dah, we know which aisle to go. We didn't get voicemails from librarians saying our deadlines were up - we made sure to make that trip back to the library on time precisely BECAUSE we avoided the wrath of the mighty guardian of the books. We viewed librarians as fearsome creatures in those days, I think, which, for me, just reinforced the belief that books were sacred.
Which is why I am all for continuing the tradition of reading, and encourage everyone to do the same. Books, unquestionably, are.