“Daddy, I’ve never seen you read a book before.”
Last Sunday I read a “real” book for the first time in a long time. I don’t buy paper books anymore. This one was a hard cover version of Trust Me, I’m Lying that was sent to me to review.
I sat in the leather chair in our family room and just read for most of the day. I was not feeling great, so it was a good excuse to not move and just relax. At some point in the afternoon, my 8 year old daughter said to me, “Daddy, I’ve never seen you read a book before.” Wow. Since I read constantly, that statement hit me hard.
Now, what I really hope she meant was this, “I’ve never seen you read a paper book.” She’s seen me read books lots of times, but only on my iPad. She’s too young to remember life before the iPad. And I was quick to change my reading habit from paper to digital. I enjoy carrying my library around with me, and I like the ability to have highlights saved in the cloud for easy retrieval anywhere I can access my Amazon account. I especially like it when I’m writing and can simply copy and paste quotes from my notes to posts.
But the words, “I’ve never seen you read before” have left me questioning the decision. How are my children to know whether I’m on Facebook playing a game or watching YouTube videos when I’m staring at my iPad? Should I hold up a sign that says, “I’m reading a book?” Or should I change my behavior?
If one of my jobs as a parent is to model behavior, what behavior am I modeling?
If my kids can’t tell the difference between one behavior and another on the iPad, I’m certainly not sending the message that reading is important. The only message I could possibly be sending is that the iPad is important. And while I certainly love my iPad, that’s not the message I’d like to send with my reading behavior.
“I’ve never seen you read a book.” That’s really not a statement I ever thought I’d hear come from the mouth of one of my children. So I’ve decided that I’m going to start reading more paper books, especially on Sundays. I enjoyed it. It honors my “disconnect from social media on Sundays” rule. But most importantly, I now convinced my children need to see book reading as a distinct and separate behavior from other things I do in the digital realm.