An excerpt from my journal I kept while stuyding abroad:
“Run, jump, climb, skip, dance, just move and be and feel. Don’t become susceptible to the numbness that’s so characteristic of your generation. A computer screen cannot make you happy. Mindless scrolling and clicking and watching and consuming will leave you empty, unhealthy, and so tired. Do things that engage your mind and body, do things that challenge and excite you. You have to do hard things if you want to be a better person. Run a 5K, become a vegetarian, take a painting class, converse in a foreign language, invite someone to coffee. Live fully and wholly, because you’re only 20 once.”
Some of my earliest memories are of my parents reading to me right before I was tucked into bed each night. I was blessed to have been the first-born child of a teacher who believed that a love for reading was the gateway to a love for learning, so I was read to on a regular basis until I was old enough to begin reading on my own. My favorite book when I was younger was Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, so I begged my parents to read it to me almost every night. Other favorites included The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.
Once my siblings were born, my parents had less time to read aloud to me, so I began to read simple books on my own. My elementary school teachers read aloud to me for the first few years of school; my third grade teacher, Mrs. Davis, sticks out especially in my memories for her “famous” reading style. She would read in a way that made the characters and the scene come alive and allow you to forget for a moment that you were sitting on an itchy carpet square in a windowless room. A few of my favorite books from Mrs. Davis’ class were The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and the books from The Boxcar Children series. There weren’t many books I didn’t enjoy reading as a child because I would read any book I could get my hands on. The only one I can remember not enjoying was To Kill a Mockingbird, but only because the first time I tried to read it I was in the fourth grade and didn’t understand its significance or meaning.
Reading has always been extremely important to me, even forming some of my earliest memories. Ironically enough, my mom would take away the book I was reading for a day as a form of punishment because it elicited more of a change in my behavior than did spanking or grounding. I remember reading a book every other day in the sixth grade because I would sit and wait for two hours every day with my mom as my sister underwent extensive physical therapy, and reading was my only form of entertainment. Curling up with a good book is still my activity of choice when I have a free hour, and the love for reading instilled by my parents and teachers has not diminished with time.