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.
I 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.