For the JOY of Reading

For as long as I can remember, reading has been a part of my life.  I have childhood memories of my mom reading the scriptures to me at my bedside.  I cherish still, my marked up and tattered first set of scriptures my parents bought me one Christmas, I count it among my greatest treasures and on the list if I had to get out of the house in case of emergency.  I have sweet memories of my dad by my bed reading anthologies.  I don't remember the books, I remember the feeling.  Later, years later, in a second hand store I found the anthologies {recognizing the cover} and had to buy them, if only for the nostalgia.  From early on, age 6, I struggled with reading.  I came from two avid readers, but dad was a marvel in that he had overcome dyslexia and I probably struggled with that too at some level.  It always made math more difficult for me than reading, so maybe it was only a slight problem.  But I felt stupid for the first 9 years of my life.  It just wouldn't connect.  The words didn't make sense.  I couldn't figure it out.  A wise mother wasn't willing to let me flounder and got me help, a sweet tutor that cultivated a love of little readers like the Dick and Jane series that changed the game for me.  Simple words, books that built on each other.  That would be the beginning of overcoming the largest trial of my life up to that point!  Dr. Seuss would come to play a big part in my JOY of reading. Then came the most wonderful 3rd grade teacher, I still remember her name Sherry Stewart.  She was beautiful!  But I think I thought she was most beautiful because she radiated LOVE.  I felt it.  I knew she cared about me.  I flourished under her care and so did my reading.  And my 4th grade teacher Mrs. George continued to build me as well.  But the thing that changed was when Mr. S (can't remember how to spell his name, so not going to try) said I had no business in his lower level reading class, but that I should be in the more advanced class.  I can pin point my LOVE of reading back to that moment, that was when Reading began to mean JOY for me.  Literally, I transformed in my mind from dumb to smart, from hating school to scholar.  That is a defining moment in my life.  All because someone believed in me and said it out loud.

So this month, as America celebrates reading, it has drudged up the good, the bad and the ugly for me.  But what I really want to say on this day of Self Care, Sabbath, Self Nourishing and JOY is that someone, Lots of someones, believed in me!  And that made all the difference.  And now I am a reader, a writer, a journal keeper, a memory tracker.  My life has changed because of the word BELIEVE!  If I can leave you with one pearl of wisdom today, find someone to believe in.

I have seven kids.
My two oldest read at 4 1/2 and 5!
They rocked.
I was so proud.
Wow, what good parenting!

Then my youngest 3 boys still couldn't read fluently at age 8!
Ummmm, wow, I failed.
What poor parenting!

But now with some self reflection and kindness to myself I can STOP that self loathing.  We are all on our own journey in this life.  "Milestones" can really mess us up.  Instead, I have learned I am an advocate of self improvement and progression on an individual, one person at a time level.  The first son that struggled with reading now reads at a higher level than his older brother.  That second son, just two nights ago, finished audibly {} listening to the last of the Harry Potter books while following along in his book and has passed off every reading counts test so far for Harry Potter.  Reading levels have improved leaps and bounds.  Some come to the smorgasbord of literacy ready to feast, and others need to start with milk first.  Don't give up on any of them.  Reading opened my world.  It built relationships of trust.  It cultivated memories. Our mom read to us clear into adulthood... out loud!  It brought our family together.  It was magic for me.  And I am so grateful I was raised in a family where they never gave up on me being a strong reader.  They believed I could so much, that I believed it.  And now I am.  And I am locking in that win!  That is my success story {I have a lot of them, and wear them like a badge of courage}!

I would love to hear your stories about reading, what it means to you, memories it conjures...

LOVE {Reading} AND {even} LIGHT {Reading}
JOYsister ~Christine


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