My Children Do Not Read

When they were little, I read to them, and when they got a little older I had them read to me and each other. They saw me reading, all the time, and I do mean ALL the time. They were surrounded by books and forbidden none of them. We went to the library a lot. All the things that we’re told, as parents, to do to make sure our children grow up to be readers, I did. And they read comic books, lots and lots of comic books, anime and manga, and watch movies. I’m fine with all that, but I don’t understand why they don’t also read novels.

It’s not so much that they can’t read well enough to get through their lives; they can. It will severely hamper their ability to get into colleges and do any kind of clerical work, because their spelling, punctuation and grammar are not particularly good. But they can do the basic things necessary to getting through life in 21st century America: traffic signs, forms, menus, questionnaires.

Still it bothers me. For one thing, I’m a writer. Most of my mental expression, what I call my inner landscape, is furnished with the concepts and information gathered from books and stories. My writing is the most important part of my inner self. But they show zero interest in reading anything I’ve done; it’s just too novelly, no pictures, they don’t want to take the time to follow it. If the girls don’t change their ways, they will never see who I really am, on the most fundamental level.

It might not be that way forever. I certainly know my own mother better now, as a person, than I did when I was a teenager. So I’m not pessimistic about it. But I hope that someday this tragedy will be amended.


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