When my children were little children I used to read to them every single day. It was a sacred ritual we followed every night before bed time. We have a large collection of books and every night, I would walk to the 'books cupboard' and choose a book to read. Now, when I say large I mean really large. We have over 3000 books. We have two antique book cases upstairs which are more than a 100 years old, and this is where half of our books are. The other half are in my home office---the room from where I write. I have three book cases in this room and I am surrounded by books, as I work. The world of books is truly a magical one.
I discovered the magic of books as a child. My father had a big collection of books, and he also had a transferable job. So each place we went to, the books travelled with us and were my constant companion. My dad also ensured that whichever place we moved to, we would be enrolled as a members in the local library. So I grew up with more books for company, than people. I wanted to instill the same love for books in my children, and hence began reading to them, right from the time they were 6 months old.
When they grew up a little bit, both my children would lie on either side of me, and I would read them a story. Then we would talk about it. Whether what the person in the story did was right or wrong, what could he have done differently, what are the circumstances that make us act the way we and things like that. My children and I both loved it.
Now my son is an adult (he turned 18 last month) and my daughter is a teen.And two days back, I asked them if they wanted me to read something to them, like I used to when they were kids. Both said they would love that. So I chose a wonderful book Light from many Lamps which contains not only the best of the world’s most inspiring thoughts and ideas, but the stories behind them and how they came to be written.There are thoughts and writings from great minds like John Burroughs, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, William Cullen Bryant, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Shakespeare, Hippocrates, Confucius, and many others.
The very first section in the book talks about happiness. What does it take to be really happy? Is there something we can do? I read to them what John Burroughs said. Then we talked about it. They liked it so much that we decided that i would read to them every day. The second day we talked about Seneca's philosophy. Today, I can't wait to read the next chapter to them, and discuss about it.
It made me think about happiness. I decided to write on it--but that will be tomorrow's post! Come back tomorrow for a post on 5 myths about happiness.
If you have children, do make it a point to read to them, no matter what their age is. Choose something that involves everyone in a discussion.
And if you do not have children, go ahead and indulge the inner child in you.
Read, ponder and lose yourself in the magical world of books.
It is one thing you can do to make your day truly special.
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