from Pinterest, naturally
Today I sat in my dad’s office and watched my parents exchange business cards. One of them had just gotten a new one or something, so they swapped and it was really funny but I didn’t have time to Snapchat it.
I tease my parents a lot: “Remember that time I broke my arm and no one believed me?”
Dad: “Yeah, I think we made you go to your siblings’ soccer game.”
Mom: “I know, I know, we’ve scarred you all…”
All joking aside, they’re great parents, and here’s one thing they did really, really well—they encouraged us all to read.
When I was younger we’d go to the local library all the time. I’d write book reports, sometimes for school, sometimes for fun, about stories I read. In the summers we’d do the reading programs. For fun, we went to the movies and dinner and the beach, but more than anything we went to Borders. Night out to dinner? Definitely going to be a Borders trip afterward.
And this is what they did really, really well with encouraging us to read: whenever anyone was in trouble (e.g. sent to their room, grounded) nothing was allowed except reading. There was no TV, no music, no phone, no hanging out with friends…but reading was totally kosher. And that, my dear friends, is how one of my brothers ended up reading this random novel my mom had picked up the previous year but no one had touched yet…which is how we all discovered HARRY POTTER and our lives were forever changed for the better.
So last week I took three finals on Monday and first thing Tuesday morning I went to the library to treat myself. Picked up a foreign film, two classics, and a book. Because that’s fun to me. And amidst studying for finals, packing to come home, and now being at home, I’ve been switching between Jon Meacham’s book about the friendship between FDR and Churchill, and a biography about Sandra Day O’Connor, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Now, back in my house, I’m reminded of all of the books I’ve yet to read, just within my own house. I never did finish The American Political Tradition back when I started it as a sixth-grader and learned what “hindsight” meant. Or Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth. There are dozens of religious books written by professors I can take classes from at BYU (how cool is that. Three weeks ago I went to a lecture with 300 other people to hear a world-renowned scholar expound on the relationship between understanding the nature of God and understanding the nature of man, and all I could think was, “My mom has books by this guy.”). And of course, my mother’s nightstand is layered with novels and self-help books and fitness books and all sorts of knowledge.
It took me a long time to realize how good my parents are at fostering a love of learning, but I’m so grateful that they are.