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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bible Stories and Family Book Time

Cozy, vintage Bible stories...
Having a large family means lots of people going in lots of different directions.  Their is school, homework, jobs, time with friends, dances, church...  all kinds of things take us away from home.  I am not sure that it's such a good thing that our fast-paced lives have caused us to become more and more independent of each other.  In fact, in recent months, I've tried to take a lot of steps to change that.  One of the things that we've always done, and one of the best parts of the day, is the time we take to gather together to read Bible stories and other books.  To me, it seems like a rather old-fashioned tradition, and one that I like very much.  Regardless of your particular religious views, taking some time out to be thankful and to consider things bigger than oneself provides a lovely respite from that chatter that so often surrounds us.

Not too long ago, Melissa found a book of Bible stories from the 1940's.  Within it's somewhat weathered green leather cover are the stories of the life of Jesus.  The little tales are written in the form of stories, in language that makes them approachable and easy to understand.  They are also illustrated in a style that I particularly love - bright, colorful and decidedly old-fashioned.  The stories aren't terribly long, and they end with a few questions to make sure the message was received.  We've had some interesting discussions because of the stories in this book, some of them related to what we believe and some having nothing whatsoever to do with questions of faith and religion.  We've even had some really good laughs because of some of the things we've said and read.

Of course, it's not just Bible stories that can bring a family together or encourage a lifelong love of reading.  When our daughter, Victoria was born (almost 18 years ago!), my grandmother gave us a set of books from the Weekly Reader Club.  Of all the gifts we've been given for the children over the years, it's probably the one we've used the most.  The stories have become huge favorites with our children, some of them read over and over.  Others are read at particular times of the year - a nice and comforting tradition to come back to.  Jack's favorite was Crawly Bug and the Firehouse Pie.  We read that at the end of each summer.  Halloween brings us to Jeb Scarecrow, a book with beautifully colored illustrations and a fun opportunity to give voice to a flock of angry crows.  A Porcupine Named Fluffy and Underwear are also staples.  If you haven't heard of these, look them up, they are truly enjoyable children's books.  Tonight's selection included a Bible story, Jeb Scarecrow and Arthur's Halloween.  All perennial favorites, both of which will probably be read again this week in the run-up to Halloween.

Two happy little readers...

If you enjoy time with your kids, and you love reading, take a moment every day to include a combination of the two.  Believe me, it will pay big dividends.  Many of our happiest family memories include good books and time together.

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