Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, writer, and possessed by cats

Bedtime reading and more

There are times when I wonder if I’m still asleep and everything going on around me is some weird dream brought on by the three day old pizza I had before going to bed. If that were the case, at least it would explain some of the idiocy going on around us. Really, guys, those times make me wonder why I bother writing novels when reality is so, well, unreal. An article I saw yesterday falls into that category.

“THE ABC has questioned whether parents should read to their children before bedtime, claiming it could give your kids an “unfair advantage” over less fortunate children.”

Yes, you read that right. Now read it again. Did your head explode? Mine sure did. Especially when I saw that it was followed up with this piece of idiocy, “Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?”

It seems there is this British “academic” by the name of Adam Swift who believes that there is a bigger difference between those who are regularly read bedtime stories and those who aren’t than there is between those who get to go to exclusive schools and those who don’t. But it was the reaction of the presenter, one Joe Gelonesi, that really got me.

“This devilish twist of evidence surely leads to a further conclusion that perhaps — in the interests of levelling the playing field — bedtime stories should also be restricted.”

When contacted by another news organization, Gelonesi tried to justify what he said — and frankly the entire interview — as a way of getting attention for the uneven playing field. But — and this, to me is the most telling — he admitted that they hadn’t even discussed the possibility of encouraging more parents to read to their kids. I guess it is just easier to tell folks they are being bad and mean by reading to their kids.

Talk about moving the bar down to the lowest common denominator instead of raising it.

And yes, I know there will be those who condemn me for my privileged view point. Screw ’em. The truth of the matter is, the further we lower our expectations, the worse things will be in the long run for us. How far have we slipped when it comes to how well our kids do against school aged children from other countries? How badly do many of our college students do when compared to their counterparts elsewhere? What happened to the U. S. being at the cutting edge of technological developments?

Instead of pushing our kids, we are coddling them. We focus more on how well they do on standardized tests than on teaching them how to think critically. We coddle them to the point where they face few, if any consequences, for their actions in school or at home (this is an over-generalization but you get my point). And now we have someone, even if only half-serious, suggesting that we take away one of the best bonding times parents have with their children as they grow.

Give me a break.

Parents, ignore the stupidity. Set the example for your kids. Read to them. Let them see you reading in your spare time. Talk to them about what you and they have read. Talk to them about what is happening in the world around them. Take an interest in their lives and their friends. Do not fall into the trap of believing we will all be better off if Big Brother takes over parenting.

coverI guess this really hit me because of a conversation I was having yesterday morning with some friends. We have been hit over the head so much recently about “privilege” and other buzz words that I found myself second-guessing the opening chapters of Sword of Arelion (Sword of the Gods Book 1). You can see, if you read the snippets I’ve posted on this blog or if you read the sample on Amazon, that it starts like any number of other books do. Someone is in peril and needs help getting out of it. Nothing new, right?

Except I make the horrible mistake, in the eyes of a certain group of so-called enlightened people, of having the character in peril be female who is saved by a male. Gasp! How dare I?

No, the real problem is that all their yelling and screaming and condemning of all things male made me stop and think twice about what I was writing. I have never before done that and I swear I never will again. That particular plot thread was what the story required. But I’m pissed at myself for even thinking about changing it.

And all because of the mass condemnations and stupidity that comes from the mouths of some of the progressives. No, we aren’t all equal. We never will be. We each have our own talents and our own weaknesses. If you want to be equal, you might as well make us all automatons.

As for reading to your kids being a sign of privilege or whatever, bullshit. I know more lower and middle class parents who make the time to read to their kids than upper class. Sure, those with less money might have fewer books in their homes but they do such revolutionary things like go to the library to check books out. They find a way. As every parent should. If you work at night and can’t be there to read at bedtime, you can record yourself reading to your child. Or you read with them at another time during the day. It is the taking of time to be with your kid and share a story with them that counts, not the time of day that you do it.

So, ignore the idiots who say you are doing a disservice to some unnamed person somewhere in the world at some point in the past, present or future and worry about your kid. Sure, teach your kid about things like service and charity, responsibility and honor. But do not hinder your kid for some idiotic philosophical idea.

Read to your kids. Read for your own education and entertainment. Read.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    As I said before, Cait was trapped, needed help but was still a strong character who hadn’t given up. I doubt that those morons would still be “fighting” in that situation.

    As for “Bedtime stories”, that’s how my sister and I were introduced to the “fun” of reading. Mom would read to us.

  2. Just goes to show that the whole purpose of “equality” is not to raise people up, but to drag them down.

    I read to my daughter when she was younger. I still read to her even though she is perfectly capable of reading the stories on her own. (It’s an excellent bonding activity.)

    • I read to my hubby, and he reads to me, because it’s a pleasure enjoyed by the listener, and a wonderful way to pass the evening. It was something started when we first met and we continue still. I think I kind of deprived my parents of that pleasure, and my eldest daughter was not keen (reading is a ‘quiet activity’ for her, and she’d rather read the book on her own), but my eldest son loved listening to me read him poetry.

  3. I mean really, my “take away” from that “study” is “here’s something easy and simple you can do that will give your kids an enormous head start in life and more people should do it.” There’s is “some people won’t so nobody should.”

    Exactly backward.

    • My take-away from the whole thing is, these dimwits are trying to repeat what happened in Romania and in many of the Cold War Eastern-bloc states, and to view them with vast suspicion, as I see these high-falutin’ soundin’ excuses as the justifications of a predator.

  4. Anyone who tries to tell me that I shouldn’t read to my kids is not going to enjoy the experience in any way, shape, or form.

    The job of a parent is to try and give their kids the best opportunities possible and to give them the best tools to move forward. That’s my job as a parent, and that’s their job too. If they decided to not use all the available tools, that doesn’t become my fault. Never has, never will.

  5. I still remember my single mother reading “Sonny Elephant” to me in my preschool years. We lived on a dirt road in Macon, Georgia, and talked about Sonny Elephant getting candy rice balls as a treat. My first remembrance what reading would do for me over the years.
    BUT! With respect to CURRENT night time reading! Last night, I was so fascinated with “The Sword of Arelion” that I kept reading LONG past the time I went to sleep; and I would wake up when the plot too on a particularly bizarre twist, to find that I had been dreaming that part, and return to reading the book that had actually been written. I think it was around 3 AM that I finally gave up.

  6. It’s not fair that some of us get to be Oxford dons while others don’t.

    Therefore Adam Swift should be fired immediately.

  7. I can’t help but wonder if Mr. Swift is related to the other Mr. Swift, the noted satirist. Who, based on this article if they are related, is probably spinning in his grave.

  8. While you need to make sure the kids are mature enough for it, do consider including “Harrison Bergeron” in your repertoire of stories you read to them.

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