Jennifer's books

Goodbye, Vitamin
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
Mrs. Hemingway
Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir
The Princess Diarist
Watch Me Disappear
Hello, Sunshine
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
A Man Called Ove
The Heirs
Our Souls at Night
White Fur
Confessions of a Domestic Failure
The Map That Leads to You
The Little French Bistro
Love the Wine You're With
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
The Party
New Boy

Jennifer Curry's favorite books »

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Why Your Kids Need to Read Today More Than Ever Before

Read to Learn

I love to read. I always have. I read because I find pleasure in it. I read for the escape. I read for fun.

But, I also read to learn. And, that’s why your kids need to read too. In these divisive times, books can save us and heal us.

Books have the ability to take us to places we will never travel to on our own. Books introduce us to people we will never meet on our own. Books provide a glimpse at circumstances we will never go through on our own.

As one of my favorite literary characters, Atticus Finch, says in To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

As humans, we are judgmental. We put people in boxes. We stereotype. We teach our children, by example, that we are superior and others are inferior. We often do it without even realizing it. We do this when we group together with the people who look like and think like us.

Read to See People How Jesus Sees People

As my pastor spoke today, he encouraged us to “Pray to see people the way Jesus sees them.” We fail at this all the time. We fail to SEE people who are different all the time; instead, we spend most of our time with people on that look/act/feel the same.

And, our kids take notice. Just go into a high school cafeteria and you will see clearly segregated groups – either by race, socioeconomic status, or social standing.

So, how do you see people the way Jesus sees them if you do not actually SEE them? 

Well, you read books. You read, and you read, and you read. You read books with characters that are not like you and in situations you have never been in. What is the connection?

When you read about the fictional struggle of a poor single mother, it will be easier for you to see an actual poor single mother in real life and greet her with grace and kindness rather than judgment. You will be able to push past society’s differences and empathize.

Read to Empathize

You see, I will never be another race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, but I have a better understanding because of the books I’ve read with characters of these types. My literary world has allowed me to put on someone else’s skin. Books have given me an idea about what life is like for people different than me.

God used a donkey to speak to Balaam, so surely he can use books to speak to us. If books can help us see people the way Jesus sees them – as children of God – then he can use books to teach us how to empathize. After all, Jesus wept.

Therefore, if we want the world to be a better place and we want our children to grow up to see people the way Jesus sees them, then put some books in their hands. And, pick up one of your own. 

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