Monday, June 4, 2012

Of Lego Blocks and Charles Dickens

Kids are amazing, right? I think we all know this as parents. Sometimes, in the daily grind of life, we forget just how amazing they are. Kids remember things. Many, many things. They absorb ideas and information without even trying. This is why I believe that while our children are young, it is the job of parents to surround them with the best things possible. As their minds develop, we must feed them on positive, inspiring experiences.
When my children were young, I read to them each night before bed. And sometimes after breakfast. Now and then, we took a little afternoon reading break…okay, so we read a lot! I chose books which were interesting and well-written. Many times, the reading level far surpassed a book they could read on their own.  As they listened to the book read aloud, they were able to absorb the meaning and nuances of some wonderful stories.
This idea was confirmed for me during the reading of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. The youngest of the children, boys aged four and five years, would sit quietly building with Lego Blocks while I read aloud.  The older three children were intensely engaged in the story. The little boys seemed to be concentrating on their building efforts. I soon realized that just being in the room while I read was great for the younger guys. They were being exposed to some new vocabulary even if they didn’t follow the intricacies of the story. They were listening and learning.
 Even at that young age, they laughed with the rest of us at the comical characters. They were especially entertained by Aunt Betsy’s harsh ways. One of their favorite lines of Aunt Betsy directed to Miss Murdstone made them roll on the floor with laughter.
                       "Let me see you ride a donkey over my green again, and as
                         sure as you have a head upon your shoulders, I'll knock your
                         bonnet off, and tread upon it!" 
 I’m pretty sure a Dickensian sense of humor was developed in each of them that still exists today. And the Lego towers weren’t so bad either!

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