Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Ties that Bind

One of the letters published in Tim Russert’s Wisdom of Our Fathers describes a father who quit school in sixth grade because his own father voiced increasing contempt for education and beat his son for bringing home books.

This is not the first time I’ve read of such a reaction to reading. Even yesterday at the library I witnessed a mother rebuking her young daughter for wanting to borrow more than two books. The girl tried to explain her choices, but the mother didn’t bother listening. She held firm in her position.

My goodness. I can’t even imagine who I would have turned out to be had my father not encouraged my love for books and reading—a love initiated by my mother, who religiously read stories to me during my pre-K years. Most of the quality time I spent with my father involved books and libraries. Books remain my favorite leisure activity and my trusted source for expanding my knowledge base. My fascination with interpreting the printed word paved the way to interpreting music notation and to (proof)reading for a living.

I’ve much to thank my father for, but I think I’m most grateful that he shaped and nurtured my bond with reading and learning. He created more than memories for me. He fostered my desire for continued personal and intellectual growth, armchair traveling, creativity, and pleasure.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. No tie or soap-on-a-rope for you this year. Just a genuine, humble thank-you.

[Art by Eugene Manet.]

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