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New Year Challenge

This is the week we talk about New Year’s resolutions. And, if you’re like some of us, yours may not last long.

I would like to take a different slant this time and begin with a true story.

When our older children were small we lived in a dangerous neighborhood and hesitated to send them outside to play unless an adult could watch them. This was complicated by the fact that I nursed my babies and had indoor time on my hands every few hours during baby feeding time.

The answer? Reading aloud! I sat the children around me on the sofa while I nursed the baby and read aloud a variety of children’s books each day. In a short while it seemed like we had them memorized. But it got better than that.

One day our five-year-old said, “I know which word says God.” I asked her to point to it, and she did with a shy smile.

“That could be a coincidence,” I thought. But happily, I was wrong. Not long afterward the same five-year old picked up a third-grade reading book and began reading fluently. It was a jaw-dropping moment.

Her younger sister, at age five, repeated the feat of suddenly reading at a high level of proficiency before she attended school. We had chosen not to have a TV, so we knew they hadn’t picked up learning from Sesame Street.

So, how does this apply to anyone in the new year?

Investing concentrated time in our children pays terrific dividends. Teachers today have limited time and many responsibilities. We as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, can lay a solid foundation for learning and healthy emotional development if we will put aside our own interests for a while and give our children one of the most precious commodities we can give them: our time.

So want an easy resolution for the new year? One you can keep (because once you start, it’s hard to say no to cute little faces, begging you to read). Let’s put down our cell phones, cut back the media, and invest in this nation's future: our children.

Now THAT’S a resolution worth keeping!

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