By Lucero De Alva
Every time children get into a fight, they dash straight to their mothers to tell them what has happened. Similarly, when grownups want to commit to something, they consult, converse and convey their thoughts to others by the way of narration. The better we are at expressing our thoughts, the better we are understood.
Every time kids are stopped from reading books that are thought to be beyond their years, my heart bleeds. This is because I see literature as the best and the swiftest medium to bring kids in consensus with the unfairness of life. When children are in their forming years, they absorb from their surroundings and become what they see. But when they are left in the company of books that expose them to different worlds, they are free to choose emotional and mental attributes from different characters.
When a child opens a book that contains the life of a hero, he/she journeys through the book and observes the choices the hero makes and the decisions he takes to get to success. And he even gets to know of the inevitable failures one has to face in life despite the rightness or wrongness of one’s decisions. That is why we call life unfair! It is important that children learn early in their lives that all their actions will lead to certain consequences and whatever decisions they make in present will either make a hero of them or a villain.
The more your child reads, the better equipped they will be at comprehending life. They can learn how priding on one’s beauty can mar one’s character and destroy one’s life forever, just to mention an example. If you have not as a child read ample number of books, you will not be able to see the grass on the other side of the road and as a result, would not be able to understand anyone who is not you or who does not think like you. Books teach you to be tolerant towards others by putting you in their shoes and showing you different worlds, they can also teach you how to take care of this world, how to go beyond your own expectations.
In real life, when a child sees a college goer who do drugs, go pubbing and involve in multiple relationships, he tries to become like the latter. And this is so very obvious for someone who has not developed a reader’s intellect. Look at it this way- The only thing a child is able to see in the intoxicated teenager is a life full of fun, friends and pleasure. What he is unable to see are the consequences the teenager would have to go through in their coming future. But when the same child takes up a book that tells a story about someone that faces the consequences, he/she gets to know why it is necessary to keep away from drugs.
There are families where parents teach their kids by the way of power and dominance; but only when the child had read books that show them how important independence for any free living is, they will understand it. Come to think of it, only when a child had known their past well, they would be able to respect their present more.
And so I believe that there are various reasons why children from a very little age should be left in the company of books, good books, by this I am not saying that illustrated books are useless, or that you have to read Shakespeare to them when they are three years old, all I am asking is to never underestimate your children’s ability to imagine themselves in different scenarios and also to never underestimate how a good book can impact their lives forever. We humans are judgmental by our very nature but books are not. They will only show the child what the fact in black and white is. Books don’t mould facts, they just show you different aspects of life, so either if they are fiction or nonfiction, make sure every book that your child reads, has a moral and so this way we are contributing in the development of better human beings. (The writer is an author of a series of children’s books that will be released in these upcoming months; the first one is PITA, the fragments of which will feature in our next edition.)