Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Creating a Common Culture...

No, this is not about a common worldwide or country wide culture. I am talking about a common family culture. How do we create and nurture a common family culture? I was thinking about this today as I was talking to a lady about how to teach her children good character traits.

It keeps coming back to books. It is always books--that renewable entertainment.

I can't even tell you how many books I have read aloud to my children through the years. My guess is that is has to be over a thousand--maybe more. I know when Kari worked in the children's department of a large bookstore she was always making all sorts of recommendations to folks about what books to get for their children and grandchildren. She would walk by a shelf and give brief descriptions of book after book.

People would invariably say, "How do you know about all these books?"
She would say, "My mom read them to me."
"All of these?"
"Well, no, some I read myself."

At any rate, I have read a lot of books to my children. Besides the snuggling on the couch when the children were young, sharing the same books create a common family culture. We still talk about the doughnut jar in Farmer Boy, Eric Liddell and his running and faith, the harshness experienced by Esther in The Endless Steppe, Ralph and his antics come up from time to time [Little Britches] and sometimes we hand out ridiculous insults to each other such as "You useless pig-of-a-lump" from Johnny Tremain. And who can forget that when times get tough and you have to work really hard to get anywhere that you are "Sailing by ash breeze," [Carry on Mr. Bowditch].

Shared books create shared memories. Many times Kari, who is now an adult, will assign me a book to read that she really loves. I try to keep up with these and then we talk about them a bit.

Of course other family traditions build strong family culture. Watching movies together, going on vacations and so forth--they all are components --but I wanted to be sure that reading great literature together is high on the creating a common family culture to do list. It is fun, costs little, encourages together time and develops critical thinking skills. It is probably the best way to spend 30-6o minutes a day.

I forgot to add, that one of our favorite sayings is "What must be done, can be done," [The Great and Terrible Quest].

It doesn't get any better than that!

Take care,

For some more posts on Reading:

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