My boys can be stubborn.  Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s in-your-face and sometimes I long to give-up when presented with their stubborn streak.  Take reading for instance.  My oldest loves to read, but this wasn’t always the case.  It took a long time for him to find a book that captured his imagination.  He did not like anything his dad or I suggested.  In fact, it was a given if mom suggested it, he flatly refused to read it.  If he did bother to read it, he would get through ten pages and listlessly declare, “That book is BORING!”  It was maddening.  Also, I was growing tired of buying him comic-type books that took him a grand total of five minutes to read.  Basically, these books were costing me about a dollar a minute.

I knew I had to do something so I formulated a plan.  A couple of months into his third grade year, I had to take him out of school for an eye exam.  In my purse I surreptitiously hid ‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief‘ by Rick Riordan.  Every fiber of my being knew this kid would love this series, but I had to be careful.  I couldn’t directly present it to him.  I couldn’t say out loud that he might like it.  That would be the kiss of doom.

As we sat in the waiting area, he noticed the book.  “What is that?” he asked.

“Oh, you wouldn’t like it.  It’s for much, much older kids.  There’s lots of action and adventure.  It would be too intense for someone your age.  You definitely would not like it, being in third grade and all.”

What did he do?  He promptly grabbed the book and read it like his life depended on it.  He read and read and then, he read some more.  From that point on, he read everything ever written by Rick Riordan.  He is now one of his all-time favorite authors.  And, that is the story of how my reader was born.

I recently relayed this story to my son.  He thought it was hilarious.  We had been discussing books with his younger brother and he too hates EVERYTHING anyone suggests to him.  He is currently in the dollar-a-minute book phase.

Trying to stay positive, even though my younger son was acting extremely despondent, I took the boys to a bookstore.  My older one quickly found several books while my younger one found absolutely nothing.  As I looked through the stack of books my older one had collected, I asked him about them. He made sure his brother was in earshot.  He looked up at me with a conspiratorial smile and described the books as being for ‘brainiacs’ and ‘for kids, much, much older’ than his brother.

I don’t know if it will make a difference, but it sure did made me smile.

Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent

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