Thursday, October 9, 2008

"I'll Love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as your living, my baby you'll be"- Robert Munsch

My older son, Big E, is a sophomore. He has a challenging course load. He is in the honors track for English, Algebra, Chemistry, and Political Science. He is also in marching band, which fills his schedule in the fall. He struggled a lot with honors English last year, and I really questioned whether he should continue at honors level this year. He really wanted to and we agreed to let him. I feel frustrated with his mediocre grades but try not to be a perfectionist. What really bothers me though, is he does not like to read.

I read to him in the womb. When he was born, we chose Atticus for his middle name, after Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. His earliest “toys” were board books, Pat the Bunny, Goodnight Moon, Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs and the whole Sandra Boyton collection. When he was a toddler, we spent hours with Dr. Seuss, Arthur, Little Bear and Thomas the Tank Engine. When he was four, he started reading to us. It started with Where the Wild Things Are, which he may have memorized, but soon he was reading and loved to do so.

All through grade school we read as a family every night. Junie B. Jones, Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket. Of course we included your childhood classics, Watership Down, A Wrinkle in Time, Bridge to Tarabithia, etc. We finally decided both kids were ready to experience the book that I loved from first reading in 8th grade, the book that shaped my morals and impassioned my love of justice and longing to be a loving parent, To Kill A Mockingbird. The boys liked it. We watched the movie. A little while later we read it again.

Somewhere along the line our bedtime readings gave way to bedtime audio books, listened to in separate bedrooms. Somewhere along the line, audio books fell to T.V. And somewhere, Big E lost the joy of reading. He now says he hates reading. Ouch. How can this be? I realize it may be a phase. I realize it may be a personality trait or just something we differ about. He is becoming his own person with his likes and dislikes that are usually quite different than mine. It’s hard to let them grow up. He has a C- in English right now. He got 2 Cs and an F on the last 3 quizzes. I implored him to read and study for the final test and he got a C. What book are they reading? To Kill A Mockingbird! I don’t understand what he could possibly not understand about the book at this point. I think I need to read it again and ask myself, “What would Atticus do?”


Anonymous said...

The book your post's title is from is really sad I think. You could probably get him to read Playboy! Seriously, maybe he just has a problem with things he HAS to read or is "supposed" to read. See if you can find books that match his interests. Or magazines. I know reading magazines isn't quite the same, but it is still reading.

Secret Server said...

IDNKM, that book is really sad! It is a children's picture book, but it is a tear jerker. Good point about him perhaps not wanting to be made to read.

Jennifer said...

Hmm... I'll tell you what I tell myself, "Maybe it's just a phase"
(of course, some of my kids' "phases" have lasted 13 or 14 years!)

Auntie L said...

I wonder if someone has given him a hard time about being "a bookworm" or
"a nerd" or whatever cruel thing kids come up with these days. Big E is very sensitive and I don't know that he would admit it if it did happen. It could also be that school is harder than he anticipated (coming from private where he was ahead of others) and he is bitter about all of it, taking it out on "reading", which most of his work entails. It is amazing to think of someone so incredibly beautiful not fitting in, but I have wondered if he feels he does. I hope it is just adolescent rebellion and that his grades and passion return. "The Aunt" :-)