A post from guest writer, Autumn Kern
At one point in my life, my mom made a rule that I wasn’t allowed to read until after dinner. I could get a little – well, you know – emotionally involved with a good storyline. If I needed to stop reading at a particularly upsetting or anticipatory moment, it was likely that I would appear at dinner crying, stressed, or overjoyed. In an effort to protect everyone from the unknown, I was only allowed to read once I was in my room for the evening.
I’m still captivated by books. But now I’m the mom, and my rule is we read all of the time.
At our house, we want to raise interesting, lifelong learners. We’re ten months in with our first baby – and I’m only 37% sure that this is working – but it seems to me that the way to cultivate a love of learning is to teach a child about God in a way that fosters a sense of awe and adoration. My own understanding of God as the creator of all things and all people makes all things and all people quite fascinating: the etches on a tree trunk, the way the ocean ebbs and flows, the fact that you have blue eyes and I have freckles, the way food smells and how music moves you. Being in awe of the God who created everything sparks curiosity and wonder, which leads to learning about him and his world. I think raising (and being) more than navel-gazers requires being captivated by something else – or rather, someone else.
So, cue the constant reading. My daughter is slowly entering a phase where she will sit happily in your lap while you read her a story. Most recently, she was focused on intaking the information through oral examination. You know, the eat-the-book method. But I think we’ve moved on from this and reading together is becoming a favorite activity for us both. Since I feel a heavy responsibility to train my child in the ways of faith, I’m extremely picky about what books I read to her. They must be full of truth and full of beauty, because God is the source of both of those things. Don’t misunderstand me, we definitely read books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, but the majority of our time is spent reading books that explicitly call her – at the deepest parts of her heart and design – to know her Maker. Every moment of motherhood is a teaching moment, whether that be with words, snuggles, or secretly shared snacks. So every time I read to her, I have the opportunity to plant a seed of future faith.
These days, when I find a few moments in the midst of diaper changes, writing assignments, and switching the crock pot knob from “off” to “make the chicken tacos,” I grab one of the books listed below. They are our favorite children’s books, and I hope they bring a sense of awe and wonder to your home. The tiniest spark of curiosity can come from just a few minutes on the couch. I doubt we’ll ever regret building consistent reading into our daily rhythm even if our plan for lifelong learners doesn’t fully work out.
But I think it will.
Until next time!
R&T + AK
Autumn Kern is a wife, mother, and forever student. She is passionate about teaching women to see how God’s grace bleeds into every moment of their lives. She serves as the Blog Editor at Risen Motherhood, writes and photographs for Deeply Rooted Magazine, and – when not creating elsewhere – leaves a smattering of thoughts on her own blog, Carbon Ribs. She hopes her words are not ultimately about herself, but she gets in the way a lot.