Author Archive: Sheri

Reading Is Feeding

Reading Is Feeding (1)

What Are Our Brains Eating

 

Everyone knows that we need a variety of nutritious foods and exercise to keep our bodies healthy. Many people have heard that fish is “brain food” and there are numerous websites offering “brain games” to keep our brains healthy.

Television and video games are NOT inherently evil. But, just as a steady diet of hot fudge sundaes will rob our bodies of needed nutrients to function optimally, so will a steady diet of visual stimulation rob our brains of important abilities (i.e. discernment, attention span, focus, relational intelligence, etc., etc.).

Reading is feeding! Where television and video games raise our stress level (brain-cell killers) reading relieves it, even with a can’t-put-it-down-page-turner. Reading fuels our imagination and creativity. Reading enhances our ability to think clearly and critically.

What is your brain eating today – this week – this month – this year?

What is your child’s brain eating today – this week – this month –this year?

READING AND SELF-REVELATION

READING AND SELF-REVELATION

I recently finished reading a beautifully honest book, On Pluto Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s by Greg O’Brien. (HIGHLY recommend it). I learned what the author experiences as the disease has taken hold of him and progressed. I came away with a better understanding of Alzheimer’s and greater compassion for sufferers (including patients and the loved ones that suffer with them).

I am grateful to Mr. O’Brien for sharing his honest struggle. His bravery pierced my cowardice. I am in awe of his willingness to remain in life, in relationships even when he lost recognition of who he was relating with. I recognized that where he persevered relationally, I would likely withdraw and it would be to my detriment.

So, what do I do? I act. I spend more time people. This is hard work for a serious introvert (honestly more like “isolationist”).

My husband and I spent a wonderful afternoon and evening with his parents. We also had an awesome dinner with my daughter Katy and her boyfriend. I had coffee with a friend. I began a new job with a literacy center and have the privilege of working with children, their tutors and parents. I won’t go into why this is so difficult for me, but I will ask my dear friends and family to hold me accountable to be in life with them and stay there.

The statistics on Alzheimer’s do not bode well for any of us as we age. Building connection, community and relationship before it hits will serve to help us remain connected and give us the tribe we need to support one another, whether we are inside or outside the mind of Alzheimer’s.

Reading is Relational

Most of us know the joy of reading with young children. We relish the moments spent snuggling and sharing stories. As children begin to read for themselves, we miss the laughter, suspense and wonder we experienced together.

Why do we stop? I suppose life gets busy and children are supposed to read alone, right?

What would happen if we had family story times or continued reading with one another?

When my son Ian was in second grade he read the first book in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. He couldn’t put it down, so I read it too. We read the second one together. Then we read the third and so on.

We gasped in unison when the characters we’d come to love were in danger, which was often. We marveled at the bravery of the Baudlaire children, especially Sunny, the youngest and discussed the unwavering integrity of these young heroes.

The middle child in the series, Klaus, carried a notebook where he wrote ‘useful information’. My son, Ian, also carried a notebook with him everywhere. The first thing he wrote in it was a poem about clouds. My personal favorite entry was, Note to self: Stay away from Katy [his sister] whenever possible.

We had just begun book eleven in the series when Ian died unexpectedly from Asthma. I cherish the memories and hold fast to all we shared and learned through the journeys we took together in books.

Following Ian’s death, my husband, daughters and I continued to share books. We often read to one another at the dinner table sharing words of comfort, encouragement and laughter.

Reading is relational. Reading can continue to bond families long after the little ones become fully-able readers.