It started a couple of years ago as a result of wanting to share a fun story with the kids. I guess I could really say that it started nearly a quarter century ago with my oldest child and our read aloud times, but snuggling up and reading a children’s book is not quite the same. No, definitely not the same.
We have journeyed to many far away places as well as places of long ago. We have witnessed romance during a time when a simple glance was considered highly romantic and when hearts pounded within one’s chest simply at the thought of receiving a letter from the one that they love. We have experienced true toil, the physically demanding labor of centuries ago – before modern technologies. We have been through battles, high seas, and horse drawn carriage rides. We have even walked alongside Jesus. Yes, we have experienced a lot in these last couple of years in our read aloud time.
Our children (11, 8 and 6) have had no difficulties in keeping up with the stories that we have read. Although the language is oftentimes different, teaching us unfamiliar words, we have established friendships with those that have lived before us.
It has been a highly beneficial experience for us all. Lives have been vastly different through the ages and what a tragedy to only know the life that we live in today.
Even in the most tired of times when I can hardly shuffle to their bedrooms to tuck them all in, one will most certainly remind me that I need to read just one chapter. Suddenly the energy surges among us all as we jump back in and walk alongside our new acquaintances and almost inevitably, one chapter turns into two, sometimes three or more.
There is nothing that can replace this family time that we share. It is unlike anything else. Sure, we can take in a marvelous movie and talk about it for days, but rarely does a movie lead us to feel as though we are living in that time. Rarely, with a movie, do we ponder the current upheaval of the story and wonder how our friends are going to make it through. Rarely do we walk away from a movie and apply the life lessons to our own daily lives. I wonder if it is because a movie is typically over in the blink of an eye and a several hundred page novel from a century ago takes us hours to walk through.
If you have not incorporated reading aloud time with your family, try it. Grab a simple story and purpose to read it through. You will be amazed at what transpires in your family time and the life lessons your children will take hold of without you ever having to tell them to.
Read, read, and read some more.