Oh the things we learn! I was rather pissy, as I recall, a number of years ago when I learned that pregnant women who gain a good deal of weight, give birth to babies with more fat cells than other babies. So? Well, it means said children (me that is) are prone to weight gain and fight (mostly lose) the battle of the bulge all their lives.
In fairness, my mother had a rotten doc to be sure, and knew no better, so I can’t really blame her.
Ditto here. It turns out that children who grow up in homes with books simple have the same advantage as children who grow up with parents who are college educated. In other words, books can mean the difference in the level of education attained even when neither parent had much of an education at all.
Course, I’m the exception to that rule. My father did not finish high school, although my mother did, apparently not learning much of anything, as far as I could tell. Books? There were hardly any, maybe a dictionary though I’m not clear on that even. I recall that my dad read WWII and wild west fiction, books that he would acquire at the drugstore. Perhaps a Reader’s Digest condensed book or two.
As I recall, this was not unusual among any of my relatives. Those pesky Reader’s Digests again. My grandmother had a homemade book case at the cottage up north. In it were a few books on agriculture, obtained free of charge from the Department of Agriculture, and so devoid of anything interesting, that try as I might, I could not manage more than three pages before I gave up.
The funny thing is, my parents bought me children’s books. I clearly remember having a couple, even Alice and Wonderland, which I could never manage to overcome–I was not a kid who fantasized a good deal, and talking rabbits and such just seemed crazy to me. I’ve related before that the book that most seared in my mind was one, written for pre-teens, that attempted to describe the possible ways our moon came to be ours.
From that I graduated to Little Women and My Friend Flicka. By then, I was pretty much hooked on reading, and a birthday or Christmas never went by without a request for a book or two. As I said, I was not encouraged nor the opposite as regards reading.
Summers, the bookmobile would come to the grade school parking lot once a week, and I was there to “find a book” for the week. I think I always read one a week, at least when we were not at the lake. I read comics of course as well.
I am not sure where this love came from. Probably it came from a couple of things. One, I was an only child, and that forces one to spend some times alone. And that gets boring quickly. Remember, this was not the time of video games, lots of kids programming and such. No, books were kinda one of the only things to do when you had to be alone, on Sunday mornings and in the evenings after the play day was concluded.
So, even though our house didn’t contain books, I managed to discover them somehow and thrived. Apparently I was inquisitive, and books fed this. Imagine what I coulda been had I been introduced to all those classics early on! I recall, as I graduated from high school, receiving something that listed 100 books every college student should have read. I was in a word, woefully behind. I actually started the list, never finished it, and lost it along the way.
I still feel inadequate (as I’ve mentioned here) in my classical book reading.
Which all leads me to this idea. The link above also links to a story about a program going on in a few states this year to do book donating to children. I think this is a classically wonderful idea, and wonder what we can do to push this idea along. Churches it seems would be a wonderful vehicle. But truly, anyone could contact their school district and see about organizing to collect books within the district for distribution to kids as they depart for summer vacation. They say as little as 12 books a kid makes a huge difference.
I confess that I am addicted to books, and addicted to reading more importantly. It has been a gift to me in so many ways, under so many circumstances. I wish that everyone could realize the wonders of reading.