A Gift That Lasts a Lifetime
By Juliet K. Kennedy

With my five-year-old son sitting on my lap, I flipped open a new book he received as a gift—The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss. With a dramatic voice, I read aloud one of the stories in the book called “The Rabbit, the Bear, and the Zinniga-Zanniga.” We soon burst into a fit of laughter as we read yet another silly Dr. Seuss story. As I finished the story, my little guy begged me to read it again. Yes, we giggled all the way through the second reading.

As I closed the book, I realized how much I treasure the time I spend each day reading to my son. I’ve loved books since my childhood and have shared my love of reading with my son as my mom did with me when I was a child. Like many parents, I’ve heard about the benefits of reading aloud to my child, such as better performance in school, language enrichment, and building a lifetime interest in reading. In his children’s book, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!, Dr. Seuss highlighted the value of reading when he wrote:

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

And as Jacqueline Kennedy said, “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”

Yes, these are all good reasons to read to our children. But, perhaps an even better one is a chance to spend precious time with our children and to fill their minds with warm memories that will last a lifetime.

I cherish many memories from my childhood of the times my mom shared books with me. I remember my mom retrieving a box from storage when I was in elementary school and lifting from it a stack of books—ones she read and loved during her childhood. As I flipped through the pages of the books, I soon fell in love with classic poems like “Casey at the Bat” and “The Highwayman.”  Oh, I read those poems over and over, never tiring of them.

Perhaps one of my fondest memories is the time my mom read aloud to my brother and me The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Each day I could hardly wait for her to read the next chapters in the book. As an adult, every time I read this classic C.S. Lewis novel, warm memories fill my mind of those nights my mom first shared this book with me.

Reading aloud to our children gives us a chance to bond with them in a special way. As we take time each day to read to our children, we learn new things about them—what interests them, what makes them laugh, what makes them cry, what scares them. And, our children learn about us—what interests us, what makes us laugh, what makes us cry, what makes us scared. We get to know our children, and they get to know us. What better gift can you give your child than that!

BEEsy Mama Question: How has reading with your children transformed your relationships with them?

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Jenny is passionate about the important role of mothers in modern America. She believes the role of moms is often overshadowed by popular culture values… like the spotlight we place on celebrities and the celebrity lifestyle. Jenny wants moms everywhere to understand they are celebrities to their Creator.

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