I missed my opportunity to submit this article for the 68th Carnival of Genealogy, which is a tribute to women, but I still want to share what I would have submitted.
I’d be hard pressed to think of another woman in my family besides my Mom who has had a significant impact in my life. In a certain sense every thing that I write on this blog is because of my Mom’s impact on my learning style.
If I were to describe Mom in one word it would have to be reader. My Mom is an avid reader! My Grandmother always said that even as a small child my Mother loved books better than anything else. I always say that her favorite thing is anything with letters in it. Mom talks about going to the library as a child with delight and staying up late sometimes all night to finish a book, such as Gone With The Wind. Reading for Mother is not just about imagination it is about stretching your personal limits of knowledge. No read for Mother can be left undiscussed, whether you are interested in it or not, it will be a discussion and the next thing you know you are interested in it! Everything she reads generates food for thought and she shares it with all who will listen.
You might think that seeing Mom read would have automatically created a reader out of me. However, as a child, reading and writing was not easy or pleasurable to me. In fact, I think I could probably say, without stretching the truth very much, that I read just enough to get by in school.
All the experts in child rearing say to be sure that your child sees you reading and that you read to your child because this is a building block for developing good readers. My mother did that and yet for years I saw her reading so much that I became jealous of the time that books took my Mom away from me. The photo collage I’ve included here illustrates the common image in my mind of my Mom.
Even though I didn’t like to read, I was a good though slow reader. Mother and I always went to the library and we would get all kinds of books. We got fiction, religious, how to, cookbooks, pets, you name it we checked them out by the armloads. I can remember when I was in the 5th grade we lived in Ohio when there was a blizzard but we were well entertained because we had books. Some of the books were about knitting and Mom and I practiced all kinds of knitting stitches. I remember this perhaps because I can recall how seemingly easy it was to learn how to do something from the step-by-step examples in the books. I also probably remember it because we got to read the book and work on a project together (just to be sure you know we worked on lots of projects together that didn’t involve books).
By the time I was in junior high I began discovering that I could find books pleasing and then by the time I was in high school I was reading quite a bit for school and some for pleasure and I even took a library class. In college I worked in the business history library at the university while I finished my degree in Elementary Education.
All of those times that I saw my Mother read, that we visited libraries, that we read & worked together surely did have a foundational impact on me. When I finished my undergraduate work in August 1982 my Mom told me that the local public library was hiring children’s librarians. Since school was already beginning for the year teacher jobs were not in great supply so I applied at the library and was hired. I worked as a librarian and went back to school to get my Masters in Library and Information Studies. After I completed my degree I continued to advance in the system and today nearly 27 years later I am still working with that public library. I can’t help but believe that the foundation that my Mom provided had a significant impact on my career choice. My career choice is a good fit to me because I love doing research and piecing puzzles together.
When I had my children I began reading to them before they could sit up on their own and read to them every night before bedtime until they were able to read well on their own. I have no doubt in my mind that those times created the foundation for them to be the good readers they are today. Additionally, we made the bedtime reading a loving, bonding time that had to help create a positive association with books and reading.