Hindsight usually stinks. Discouragingly, it reminds me I could have done better. Today, surprisingly, it has handed me a gold medal. To explain this, let’s go back several years.
Our young munchkins usually seemed especially demanding during the late afternoon. Stopping briefly, I hoped that the half apple and some cheese would solve their problems. It didn’t, for long. Soon they were back at my feet. Eventually, I realized that giving them five minutes of undivided attention could satisfy them and let me continue supper preparations. So, I would invite them to get a book to be read together.
I love books, especially children’s books. Oh, the whimsy and wisdom of Dr. Seuss — the pictures of Stephen Kellogg — the beauty of Beatrix Potter. Winnie the Pooh, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, Curious George and the Little Engine That Could are my lifelong friends. Which books will they choose?
Oh, no! Not THAT one. The Story of Goby Goat was our 4-year-old daughter’s favorite book and she chose it OFTEN. (Hmmm – three times per week x 52 weeks) We read it many more times than I wanted. But she loved it, so I read it to her. I knew it was important. I think I earned a shiny red star for my reluctant performances.
But now I know that, in fact, I was earning a gold medal. Advances in technology and brain development show that EVERY time I read that book, I was helping her grow so many ways.
Physical contact is critical to healthy growth and development. Sitting with her provided love, security, acceptance, and belonging for each of us.
Mentally, she was building complex roads in her brain that make any interstate look like a cow path. Pathways for sounds, meaning, emotions, color were being created and reinforced.
The foundations of thinking, logic and language were all being laid. She was learning to make connections between books, herself, others and the world. She was learning to see how things fit together, understanding beginning/middle/end, asking if it makes sense, or what happens next. The very basis of speech and later reading was being created by listening / hearing / making sounds and words and sentences.
And, she was establishing a foundation for living in society — using empathy, kindness, and honesty.
What fun to learn I have done something right (even by accident)!
Grandma is Rebecca Kordatzky. She is a wife, mother of three and grandmother. A retired educator, she’s taught all levels and trained teachers. As an educational coach/tutor and at the Milton Area Youth Center, she aims to educate, encourage and inspire.