Thursday, January 1, 2009

Do Your Children A Favour

This new year please do not take a resolution. You know very well that it will not last more than a week. Instead take your children to the nearest library and make them a member. We have been members of the British Library in Bangalore for the last 4-5 years. And I have seen my children fall in love with books.

A library does things to your kid that you might not even suspect.

Consider these ...

  • Books: That's what libraries are for, aren't they? The greatest gift you can give your child is the love of books. It's like you are teaching them how to fish. And the earlier it starts the better.
  • Constraint of numbers: One is spoilt for choice in a library. Heaps of books. But the number you can borrow is only, let's say, 5. I can actually see my children taking decisions ... which ones to take this time? They look at the book, read the back cover, turn a few pages to sample and decide. It is an amazing feeling to see them decide. Blink comes into play.
  • Constraint of time: This comes to play if the library is located some distance away from your house. We can go to the British Library only once a month (it is about 20 km away). The children need to chose correctly. What if it turns out to be a boring book? And what if I finish reading the books quickly and then have to wait for a couple of weeks before we can go back to the library. At first I saw them picking up thin books - easy read ones. Then real fat books. Over a period of time I can now see them picking up combination that is just right.
  • Trade-off: There are times when I pick up a book. By the time I choose, they already would have picked up 5 books of their choice. My book would then bring in a new dimension of decision making. Which book can they now 'sacrifice'? Believe me, it is not an easy decision for them. In a small way, this nudges them out of their comfort zone for a brief period of time.
  • Zone of silence: This is the pay back. From my point of view this is the greatest advantage. The two boys need to talk less for a period of time. They also cannot monkey around when they are in a library. What else does a parent of two hyper-active kids want?

So, do your children (and yourself) a huge favour. Read this blog and head straight to the library. And see your children blossom.

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Susan Critelli said...

Hey, this is a great post with applicability to homeschooling, so I have linked to you on my post for tomorrow. I found you on alphainventions. How is that working out for you?

bruce said...

Hi there,
Thanks for dropping a comment... I plan to post my experience of alphainventions shortly but in general, I am pretty impressed after one considers that people rarely comment.

BTW I too have been peeking at your site and noticed your recommendation of "The Black Swan" I got about half way through it then dropped out....too much writing to get on with. Maybe I will finish it.

All the Best

Ashwin said...

Yes Amitabh. I agree with you. Here in UK, people read whenever they find time. Not only me, my daughter who is 5 years loves to read books. Now that she can read a bit on her own, she loves to read books.

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