Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reading and Teenagers (well, before they are there)

It's 8:30 Sunday morning, and I just got back from a 5 mile run and some "boot camp" is good - of course I have the cup of coffee next to me, and I probably will try to sneak in a nap...

I wanted to put the whole testing subject on hold for today.

I have lots of time to think when I run, and I think a lot about my kids.

Kids are constantly growing, constantly changing.

It has never been more clear as with my oldest son, Matthew. He's finishing 4th grade, and is showing those signs of becoming a teenager. This is uncharted water for me...

I need to provide material for him that will meet his growing awareness of the world, people, and self.

There are tons of books out there these days for the middle school crowd. I have noticed a lot of good things, but I have also noticed that a lot of the material seems to be similar to adult books, but brought down to a kid level. For example, vampires being all the rage in tv and adult lit, there are a bunch of teenage books that have a similar theme.

Now I am not to be a spoil sport, and I am definitely not one to censor things...but I know this: I need to know what he is reading.

Just like we need to know what they are doing on the internet, just like we need to know who their friends are and what they are involved in.

I know it is asking a lot to read their books. I know what it means to have NO time -- juggling a full time job, sports, and the house...but here's where I am going to set a goal for myself.

I have always said that it seems like instead of the boys needing me less as they grow up, they need me more. Of course it is different -- they don't need me to set out breakfast and get them dressed every morning -- but now it is deoderant, how to deal with bullies, and where do people go when they die? subjects.

Teenagers hate to have their parents around, so I have heard. But deep down, they don't.

I am going to start now, being there for Matt. Reading the things he is will give me a window on what he is dealing with.

And, as I said earlier in my blogs, books are a perfect way to begin conversations about subjects that are tough to bring up. Put it on the book -- "Hey, when I was reading what xyz character did, I was thinking...what did you think?"

Matt is 10. I need to start now, because I am sure some of you reading with older kids are thinking, "Yeah, sure...he'll talk to you when he's 16 -- about getting a car, not books."

I have taught middle and high school students, and yes, I know some of them go into their own worlds, but there are those who you know parents have been talking with them -- not in a "I want to be your friend" way, but that they have related to their kids as mutual readers...that's different.

So that's what I was thinking about for 5 miles, that's what I was thinking about to get me through that 100th jumping jack. Next step...start reading the books he is!

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