Spring

Hi! May I begin with a photo from yesterday morning: coffee and the startling snow? I messaged a friend, worried about her flowers, and she responded, they are shocked, as am I, but we’ll pull through. I loved that. Today the snow was gone and everything was greener for it.

I admit I’m having trouble getting back into the swing–the wooden tree swing–of writing here. The time constriction of life right now is very good for productivity in general, my official to-do list gets done because I only have about 60 minutes every day to do it. But other things that take and generate creative energy have been replaced by holding Esme and gazing at the ceiling, or holding Esme and reading a book, a Barbie Early Reader no doubt, that I really wish Alma hadn’t managed to slip into the library bag. And so on.

I’ve been thinking about this interview with the enchanting Katherine Paterson, author of many books including Bridge to Terabithia. Sometimes with reading to kids, I’m so eager for them to meet books that I fear pull them out too soon. Is there a ‘too soon’ though? What if you meet a character at age seven, and revisit her again at 12? Anyway, on that topic I was I intrigued to hear her say…

I do get worried when I hear parents bragging about their kid is so smart and reads so well that she’s reading Bridge to Terabithia when she’s 6 years old or 7 years old and I think, ‘No, no, no. You need happily ever after when you’re that age. You don’t need Bridge to Terabithia. There’s an emotional readiness as well as an intellectual readiness and you need to make sure that your kid is ready emotionally for the death of another child.

To be honest, the idea of “happily ever after” and children is becoming more and more foreign in today’s culture. We seem to be in a hurry to introduce every social challenge, every world socio-political issue as soon as possible, even as our children are raised with fewer personal responsibilities or chores and with less independence than what would have been allowed in previous generations. Thoughts on this? It’s something I think about a lot.

Another gem from KP on discussing books with kids: “If you know the answer to a question, then it’s not a question.” I love how that affirms talking over books with your children after they age into reading titles that you haven’t, and likely will never, read. The whole thing is worth a listen, I enjoyed it.

till next time xo

11 thoughts on “Spring

  1. Forwarding this podcast along to several friends – such a great find! Thank you for sharing along with your always wonderful insights.

  2. You articulate so many thoughts I’ve been mulling over in such a beautifully succinct way and I’m always grateful for it. You have such a gift!

    Have you read Small Animals by Kim Brooks yet? It was so fascinating and blew me away. I think you’d enjoy it.

    Can’t wait to listen to the podcast!

  3. I think about this a lot. I find that kids gravitate towards choices that make sense to them (Barbie early readers aside ;-)). I don’t give my advanced readers books that they can’t really process yet. My children’s librarian had even recommended books on tape for my 1st grader that were just a little too sassy for his tastes (he may be sassy, but he’s just seven). So what does he listen to over and over and over again? Beverly Cleary. He’s had the book on loop for a month. He delights in the silliness and the fun and the concerns of Ramona and Beezus and Henry. My other 7 year old can read middle grades nonfiction about animals but for fiction, he’s loving Nate the Great. He came home from school with a self-made book and a pencil behind his ear announcing that he’s Benji the Great and he’s now taking cases. So sweet. Trying to treasure kids growing up at their own pace.

    • Thank you for sharing these! I also loved detective fiction when I was little. Something about how the stories always had a neat summary tied with a bow. And I agree–watch what they gravitate towards.

  4. I’m not a parent yet (just friend-aunt, babysitter, cousin) but I do notice the trend you’re speaking about and I think about it a lot too <3

    I was listening to a GOOP podcast the other day, interviewing the author of Simplicity Parenting (I believe the episode was called "creating a value-centered home"), and he said the same thing- that we don't need to make kids little "social justice warriors" so to speak. Just demonstrating basic care (like care for the environment, fellow humans) will teach them what is important at these young ages, and when they are older they can be exposed to these things in a more mature/comprehensive way.

    • That sounds like a great episode. I’ve read his book, but haven’t encountered him for a while. Thank you for sharing!

      • Rachael, as always, such good thoughts communicated so beautifully. Your second to last paragraph–I wish we could talk it over in my backyard over some hot coffee.

        By the way, what is the appropriate level of chores at these ages? Off to find a podcast for that…

        P.S. I second the above podcast she recommends. It was a good one.

  5. I have been wanting to recommend the wonderful Phantom Tollbooth. Read to my kids over and over again. Also, Wind in the Willows . Daddy long legs. The Railway Children. Magic by the Lake. The Bed Book by Sylvia Plath. My boys are grown and these books remain by their bedsides.

  6. Ok, thank you for mentioning the Barbie Early Reader stowaway from the library. In our case is a Lego Disney Princess reader (the horror)! Also regarding your last post, I love photography by Erin Southwell her talent and capture of childhood are breathtaking. Congratulations on your sweet new daughter and well wishes to the whole family!

  7. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. Really do appreciate it, and something that I wondered about as well, when I found out my son’s class (5th grade) would be reading “Bridge to Terabithia,” actually. I am going to listen to this podcast episode (and others too hopefully). thank you!

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