Monday, April 20, 2015

"Thou Shalt Teach Them Diligently"

"Down a sunny dirt road, deep in Bear Country . . ." 

So went the first days of Pesach. I own nearly every The Berenstain Bears book (I recommend classic Stan & Jan over later Mike versions), and was doomed to read them all.
But how could I be remotely irritated when two cuddly little boys are snuggled into my sides, immobile, rapt? Us three were tucked beneath a down cover (that I thoughtfully fetched) on that chilly day for quite some time. My childhood memories of my siblings' rattling monotone when they would read to me ensured that I availed my voice of inflection; I made sure Farmer Ben was reenacted with a Southern drawl. 

"Lea read us a billion books!" one excitedly informed his mother. 

"A billion and one," I corrected. 

"Lea's so cute," he cooed fondly. 

On the second days, Luke's near-three-year-old discovered the stash of sturdy "board books," and he, too, sagged into jelly on my lap as I read and read and read.
A few weeks ago there was an Op-Ed piece urging women to donate their breast milk to mothers who are unable to provide it, especially in light of studies showing higher academic achievement amongst those who were breast-fed. But, there was a letter from a pediatrician. She wrote that while it is a nice idea, the financial resources needed to screen and distribute the milk would be better spent encouraging mothers to read to their children. 
With scarce national resources for many families in need, and while recognizing that “breast is best,” increased intelligence and opportunity might be facilitated more effectively by community support of the extraordinary nutritive factors in the close, exploratory contact engendered by reading between mother and child.
There is more than one way to increase a bond and to pump up intelligence. The Berenstain Bears are available on Amazon. I have not yet met a child who didn't like them, mussar regardless.    


Chaya said...

I read to all of my children and as adults, they all love to read.

Princess Lea said...

Luke still likes pictures with his reading, sigh.

TooYoungToTeach said...

I have one problem with the Berenstein Bears...Papa is a terrible role model, he's just as bad as the kids, often worse.

I just don't like the "fathers are lovable fools" portrayal.

But otherwise, I loved them as kids, read the chapter books and everything.

Princess Lea said...

There are a number of exceptions: Mama looks kinda stupid and Papa is the wise one in "Slumber Party." Papa is cool and calm in "Trouble in School." Mama and Papa are both the same meanies in "Trouble with Grown-ups." But I think, based on the kids' reactions, don't associate this Mama and Papa with their own parents, while still getting the message.