No popularity contest, this be.
Little lesson learnt today... in an effort to start imparting my kids with some intellectual curiosity (only two of them like to read and I'm worried the other two may end up with the vocabulary of a plant), I decided that I would start reading to them again every evening.
By reading, I don't mean flicking through 'Captain Underpants' that they can read for themselves, but jumping into books that can stretch them and that we can talk about. My secret hope in all of this of course is that they will fall in love with reading, not just for entertainment, but for growth.
So tonight I called everyone onto the big bed, and announced that I'd be reading from a book called Ancient Inventions. My excitement was countered with a wave of groans and eye rolls... honestly it was obvious that nobody was excited.
For a moment I asked myself if I should reach instead for Captain Butthead; after all isn't it my job to amuse my children? Ah no... wait. It's my job to RAISE my children, that's right. It's so easy to get seduced into constantly doing the things our kids 'want to do', but isn't that totally crap preparation for the real world?
Kid arrives at his first day of work: "What would you like to do today, Johnny? We just want to make sure you have FUN".... said no boss ever.
I had only just this morning told my husband that I wanted to make a deliberate effort to help the kids expand their boundaries, so I stuck to my guns and we took a reluctant journey into Ancient Rome to discover the origins of the fire engine.
The total shocker: the kids totally loved it. It turned into such a great discussion and in the end I had trouble getting them off my bed and into theirs.
As they drifted off to dreams of Rome and Alexandria, I mused that the biggest lesson from the night was actually reserved for me. Good parenting isn't a popularity contest. If I'm always doing 'what the kids want to do', I'm not only robbing them of new experiences, but most importantly, robbing them from developing the thirsty curiosity that is required for a lifetime of growth.