Stop Reading to Your Kids, Please

So the Pope is now an honorary Harlem Globe Trotter (Why?), ABC is asking if parents reading bedtime stories to their kids isn’t giving some kids an unfair advantage, it seems like everyone wants to redefine what it means to be male and female, the new little princess in England was named after Diana (shocker), and Chuck Norris is worried about the US Government taking over Texas.

This is what passes for news in today’s society. Can this even be real? Are we living in some kind of Matrix-land where someone, somewhere, is just spit balling the craziest stuff they can come up with and throwing it all out there to see how we respond? On some level, that would actually be sort of comforting. But unfortunately, as far as I can tell, this is real stuff.

The only one of those I feel even a tiny bit interested in speaking to is why ABC would address the issue of reading to children, and how it might give those children an unfair advantage over those who don’t have parents or other folks who do that. ABC came really close to suggesting that those people just stop it. Stop reading to your kids, you selfish, selfish parents. Don’t you know what you are doing? Don’t you understand that you are just widening the gap between your kids and those poor kids who don’t have that at home?

So instead of helping out the kids who don’t have that by brow beating (encouraging) those lazy (uninformed/disinterested) parents, we are just going to level the playing field down.

FullSizeRenderI remember reading to my kids when they were little. What I remember is that it was a chore most of the time. When my kids were little, I worked night shift a couple of nights a week so that I could be, for all intents and purposes, a stay at home mom to my four kids. I used to tell my mom that it felt like a daycare, only no one ever went home. By the time bedtime came, I was tired. I didn’t really want to read Green Eggs and Ham again. But I did. I didn’t work nights and stay home for me; I stayed home for my kids. I realize this also probably gave them an unfair advantage. I’m sorry. If I could do it all over again and work all the time, I would.

I will admit that by the time child number four came along I had pretty much stopped reading bedtime stories. Instead, for Evan, I made up stories. Stories about a blue door that when opened, took people on wild adventures. It was a new story every night. There were also stories about a magic mailbox that held letters that could take the reader to exciting places. I was tired of reading Dr. Seuss. Evan is a straight A student. It’s horrible.

I do think most parents do the best they can by their kids. I also think that sometimes parents think the best they can means giving them all they can, financially. Parents work a lot. Now that my kids are older, I work a lot, too. College is expensive. But when they were little, Matthew and I decided that we could get by on less in order to pour more of me into our kids. We got creative with our schedules and our budget. We didn’t do it to give our kids an advantage over other kids. We did it because those four kids were given to us to love, nurture, and raise. We took on that job with all seriousness that many nights included hide and seek games in the dark, talent shows in the family room, and bedtime stories.

As believers in Christ, we are called to give our lives away. As parents, I believe the first folks to dip into that pot are our kids. So in answer to ABC’s suggestion that parents stop investing in their kids because all kids don’t have that at home, I’m sorry. I really am, but that’s not going to happen in my house. I think it’s time that we stop thinking it’s better to lower the playing field in order to find equity. Americans have always been about raising the bar… I’m not sure who all these people are who think lowering it will bring anything good to anyone. Perhaps they are some of those illegal aliens we keep hearing about in the news.

All children deserve parents who invest in them. Raise the bar. Invest in their lives. It’s what we are supposed to do as parents. Really ABC, that was just a dumb story.

So what do you think?

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