Recently, my nine-year-old daughter came home and informed me that she’s writing a book. She promptly pulled out her spiral-bound notebook and asked me if I wanted to read what she’d written so far. Of course, I did. I read the pages she’d written smiling from ear to ear as I read each word. I was beyond proud that my own daughter had the urge to write stories and share them with the world. I encouraged her to keep writing and told her I’d read the entire thing when she’s finished. I selfishly hope she keeps at it. Every parent longs to pass something they enjoy onto their kids. Most kids resist and eventually rebel, but some come back around later in life. If the only thing I leave behind for my daughter is a love for writing, then I will consider that a win in the father column.
The B Book was her first “favorite” book. I can still recite the book by memory. I’ve read it easily over a hundred times between both kids.
I’ve been reading to both my kids since they were born. I read to them each night before bed until they were old enough to want to read on their own, and now my wife and I sit in our bed with them each night about 30 minutes before bedtime, and we all read as a family. Not only does the ritual provide a means for everyone to wind down after a day full of activity, but it also establishes a relaxing habit for my kids. I hope they carry the joy of reading with them throughout their lives because reading is critical for a lifetime of learning. My daughter has taken to reading so much that we often have to tell her to put the book down and go play, eat her dinner, or talk to her friends. She’s that into it.
Given her predilection to reading anything and everything, it should be no surprise that she’s interested in writing. She’s only nine, but my interest in writing really exploded when I was nine years old. I would write mostly silly stories, but I loved creating my own little world. I could see a lot of that wide-eyed excitement in my daughter when she described her story. I listened intently as she told me what she planned for her book. She understands the basic elements of a story already (I didn’t when I was her age), and I hope she stays with it if only to teach her the importance of persevering in the face of the inevitable obstacles that every writer faces in the pursuit of a novel (or any story for that matter). It’s hard work, and it’s very easy to get discouraged, but the rewards of finishing something you’ve poured your heart into are immense.
No matter what happens with her book, I will be proud of her just the same. Just having the idea that she can write a book about something she has dreamt up is enough to make me excited for her. These are the seeds of creativity that can flourish for a lifetime whether she ever writes a book or not. Knowing her as I do and seeing some of the same flickers of imagination in her that I felt as a child, I think it’s more than a passing fancy. Once you get the bug to create, it’s not easy to just let it go. I’ll have fun watching her grow nonetheless.