I was a bone-weary traveler as I pulled up to the bed-and-breakfast in eastern Tennessee. I had driven more than four hundred miles that day to attend a series of meetings at Bryan College and to hear Tim Tebow’s mother, Pam, speak at a crisis pregnancy center.
Exhausted from the trip, I trudged up the stairs of the charming inn, carrying my suitcase and dragging a boxful of books behind me. Before collapsing on the bed for some much-needed rest before dinner, I decided to hang my clothes in the closet. Only there was no closet, just an old-fashioned wardrobe. As I opened the wardrobe door, I stood there mystified and transfixed as I found myself peering into another room containing some intriguing murals of a lion, two beavers, and a lamp post.
It took me a few seconds to realize I was in a suite designed with a Narnia motif.
In the brief magical moment when I unwittingly opened the wardrobe door to deposit my clothes and realized this was no ordinary piece of furniture, I experienced for the first time how young Lucy Pevensie must have felt when she discovered the wardrobe that ushered her into the land of Narnia. And for that moment I felt like a child again.
Regaining my bearings, I stepped through the wardrobe and into the Aslan Room, which had been created by the innkeepers to coincide with the movie release of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe a few years earlier. There I perused several illustrated Narnia books and lost myself for a while in that marvelous world created by C. S. Lewis.
That day I was reminded anew of the power of great literature not only to engross and entertain our children but also to shape their lives, their hearts, and their character. Lewis himself, in recalling his childhood, said he was the product of “endless books.”
Sadly, reading is a waning skill in our culture. Some claim we now live in a post-literate society. If this is true, it’s all the more reason we, as homeschooling parents, should make every effort to foster a love for reading in our children. The Roman statesman Cicero succinctly stated, “The task of the educated mind is simply put: Read to lead.”
But Reading Isn’t Enough
First and foremost, children need parents who love them and are devoted to them. Charlotte Mason once wrote an article entitled “Parents as Inspirers.” Relationships inspire children. Parental relationships especially inspire them. As parents, we need to focus first and foremost on raising our children to love and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Reading is an integral part of this, as we teach our children to love and read God’s Word.
Reading by itself is no guarantee of anything. History is replete with well-read people who perpetrated terrible crimes against humanity. But if your goal is to raise children who love God and serve their neighbors, then reading is key. When you combine the power of books with healthy, dynamic family relationships, the results can be profound.
So establish a culture of reading in your home. Read alone. Read aloud. Read together. Listen to audiobooks while eating lunch, running errands, and traveling in the car. For the sake of our children and the future of our nation, we need to be raising a generation of readers.
Reposted with permission from Homeschool 101.
Zan Tyler is founder and a board member of SCAIHS. Her life as a speaker, writer, and homeschooling advocate began thirty years ago when, as a homeschooling mother, she was threatened with jail by the South Carolina state superintendent of education. She has been honored as the South Carolina Homemaker of the Year and has appeared on NBC’s Today Show. In addition to her book 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential, she has written for numerous academic journals and homeschool magazines such as HSLDA’s Court Report.