Chew On This

callie reading

Some of the worst decisions I’ve ever made in parenting thus far have been when I’ve said no to something one of my children wanted to do. Because I thought I knew better or had more life experience.

Well, I almost did it again this week at the library, but instead I listened to my daughter’s plea and said yes…

My sweet 3rd grader could have a blog of her own. She is so full of ideas and loves to write and create. However, until this week, she would have told you that she didn’t like to read. She would have told you that it was a waste of her time. Which is the very reason we go to the library every other week. Mama wins this one every time.

We check out books on all sorts of topics, typically leaving with 30 or more books between both of my kids. And of course the 3 or 4 I throw in with theirs. This week was no different until we were walking to the checkout station.

“Mom, I want to get this book. It looks really interesting.”

I was struggling to carry our haul for the day to the checkout station and I flippantly said, “No, baby, we’ve got enough books don’t you think?”

“No, I really want this one. Besides, you might like it, too.” She pressed a little harder and tried using her negotiating skills to reel me in.

I stopped walking and said, “Let me see it.”

No joke, it was a 259 page book entitled “Chew on This”. Here it is:

I chuckled on the inside as I listened to my daughter fighting for her right to read a book that caught her eye.

As I listened to her words, I also heard something else. Her desire to read something she picked out. Something that wasn’t forced on her. Something that caught her eye.

Lastly, I listened to the little voice inside of me that said, “just say yes”.

“Yes, Callie, you can get it and I am sure you will learn a lot of interesting things.”

“Awesome! Thank you mom!” she shouted. In the library nonetheless…

She has since then read over 120 pages of “Chew on This” and has said over 30 times, “I am so glad we don’t eat at ____________!”

But most of all, she is reading. Something she has never ever enjoyed. It has always been something she checks off her daily agenda. I have no idea if it will last, but today I cherish her newfound love of reading. I’ve heard many say that those who dislike reading are reading the wrong things.

Maybe my activist daughter will continue to soak up page after page as she wades through life. Few things make me happier than a good book. Well, maybe my children reading a good book!

I’m wading through waters, too. Parenting waters. Sometimes calm and other times treacherous. I’m reading a few good books of my own and I’m learning as well. As Frederick Buechner said: ““Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” 

I’m seeing that my job as a parent is so much bigger than I can ever do on my own. And sometimes the best thing I can do is get out of their way.

Parenting is more about space than fences.

More about letting them make their own mistakes instead of trying to fix them before they can learn from them.

More about letting them experience life and less about keeping them sheltered.

More about letting them go instead of holding them back.

And in these moments, they fly. They soar. They fall. They get back up.

They learn they’ve got what it takes…and so do I.