Thursday, May 27, 2010

Favorite Friends

Making my rounds to tidy things up before the day gets away, I  pulled my favorite 500 thread count thrift store sheets, along with fuzzy blanket, down comforter, and white on white quilt from rumpled mess to straight and beautiful as best I could, but something bumpy restricted my hand as I smoothed the bedding up to greet the freshly plumped pillows.  Then, they fell out on the floor, “Goodnight Moon” and “Little Toot,” special friends of a little blond cutie pie and a littler blondish munchkin. I smile as I pick them up and place them on their shelf, remembering the squirmy delight of the “littles” this morning as we read together in my comfy bed.
Our books are our friends We read often.  Aloud, and for long periods of time, rapt in the unfolding drama.  Is there anything more cozy after darkness falls than gathering in the family room amid piles of pillows and blankets to listen, and be transported to far away places?  Not in my mind. 

My dear husband does not read a lot, but he always has a stack of books he is working through at hand.  Currently, it holds Disciplines of a Godly Man, A Practical View of Christianity, Biblical Eldership, Doctrine, and just for fun, Last of His Breed.  He just finished Crazy Love, and was quite smitten. 
John is an avid reader, and it is hard to keep good books in front of him.  His top 10 books for young men are; the Bible, Patriots, This Present Darkness, Piercing The Darkness, Last of His Breed, Hostage Lands,  Duncan’s War, In Freedom’s Cause, The King’s Arrow, and Rebel’s Keep.

 Anna and Rose read constantly, therefore the piles of books next to any cozy sitting spot in the house.  It has, at times, been difficult to find proper girly reading material for a wholesome young maiden, but as they have matured, I have let them onto my favorites.  It was hard for me to allow their naive minds delve into a less than perfect world where violence and it’s consequences reigned.  It has turned out to be a good move, one that has brought on many a discussion, and brought godly conviction to their hearts.  We are careful the girls do not read romance books that would fill their heads with silliness and unreal expectations, but fiction that upholds godly character and decisions in the face of uncertainty, that is good reading.

Then there are the favorite friends of the little ones, the books we all know by heart from reading them multiple times a day.  I have my special friends in these as well.  Books of whom the good character quality speaks loudly, obedience is carried out, and when it isn’t, there are consequences.  Stories that teach a lesson, open a mind to a world outside their own, and introduce youngsters to a higher vocabulary.  The illustrations must be winsome, I abhor ugly pictures.  Must be the romantic in me. 
As for the younger boys, classic boy adventures with heroes who do right and not wrong, who treat the fairer sex with respect and honor, these are the choices I put before them.  I have spent many hours pre-reading books to ensure a quality story.
 As you can imagine, this has left me little time for reading my own genre of books, but I manage to find little sniglets of time here and there, or an occasional whole day to devour, in one sitting, a particularly intriguing spine.  Mostly, I return to the same old , faithful words that have inspired me, corrected me, encouraged me, and taught me time and time again.  Their jackets are falling off, their binding showing it’s age and use, like the velveteen rabbit, becoming all the more dear to me with it’s shabbiness.

Books are often times our favorite friends, which is why it is so important to choose them well.  Proverbs 13:20 warns, “He who walks with the wise men shall be wise but the companion of fools suffers harm.” 
 Children will pick up many  kinds of  ideas from the atmosphere we provide in the  home.  Charlotte Mason put it this way:  “about the child hangs the thought environment he lives in.  And here he derives those enduring ideas which express themselves as life-long kinship towards sordid or things lovely, things earthly, or divine.”  she goes on, ”How much influence the world has over our children really depends on what standards we set at home.” It is logical, that if we parents start giving our children an appetite for good and lovely books from a very early age, their hunger will increase with their age.  Our children have proven this to us.  Their books are their peers, their instructors, backing up the principles that daddy and mama teach them.  In the end, the books we have set before them have become their friends, and their delight.  Seeing my children captivated by a book makes me smile.  It is truly one of the lovely things in this life.

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