I began to realize that grandparents were a breed apart when my mother wouldn't use the present I bought her. “My grandkids are smarter than your grandkids!” read the cute bumper sticker I thought she would affix with alacrity onto the rear bumper of her van. Apparently this was just asking for trouble on California's freeways. “People shoot for less than that!”
Now that I am a grandmother, I understand. Even my theology has shifted. That whole sin nature business was a big question mark until the 2nd birthday. I would explain behavioral glitches as environmental, not organic.
But one thing was a given from day one. These children would LOVE TO READ. Other loving relations bought cute furry crib dwellers, flashy rattles or cozy sleepers. This grammy prepared for the imminent arrival by laying in a selection of reading material. As the tummy extended, the stack in my bedroom grew taller. Bible stories, animal alphabets, glossy paged tales, pop-ups, fold-outs, 3 dimensionals and chewables. I could hardly wait until I could prop up that miniscule bit of my flesh and blood in my lap and introduce him or her to books.
One of the first that we explored together was recommended by Kim who purchases our children's collection here at House of James. God Loves Me More Than That by Dandi Daley Mackall captivated me immediately. Not too big, not too small, not too thick, not too many words per page, enchantingly illustrated by a genius named David Hohn, it quickly became an oft-requested favourite.
Energetic vocabulary enhances the text. Words like “space shuttle” and “sneeze” and “semi-truck” are incorporated so naturally that the reader and the listener are caught up in the cadence before they realize that they are experiencing lyrical poetry. God's love is described and expressed so convincingly that one wants to leap into those welcoming arms. A far cry from the Halloween tract that literally scared me out of hell 53 years ago (and vice versa, albeit short lived).
Leadership maven John Maxwell once said, “Why pay your kids to take out the garbage? Do you want them to become garbage collectors? Pay them to read!”
It's never too early or too late to start reading to your little ones. Lock the computer, turn off the dvd, sit down on the couch and let them clamber onto your lap.