It is only when we, as parents, start reading, that our children will feel encouraged to follow our steps and do the same
Both my husband and I are keen readers and have a comprehensive collection of books at home. I remember, about a decade ago, when my daughter was just a toddler, she would visit the Indian Association Library in Ras Al Khaimah with us and pick up a book for herself.
Once we reached home, we would all sit and read our respective books, while she would go through hers, not really reading, but just looking at the pictures and enjoying herself. Seeing that, I felt pride and happiness over the fact that the family hobby had rubbed off on my little baby.
However, somewhere down the line, electronic gadgets took over. With that, came the invasion of iPads and smartphones at home. Rather than spending time reading books, habits changed and instead, people spent more time on social media and surfing the net. Similarly, my husband and I became caught up with household chores and work. As a result, this delightful habit of reading slowly faded away from our home. However, my husband still reads occasionally, that too, from e-books.
Times have changed and due to time constraints, one still indulges in reading, although not as much as we would want to.
As for my daughter, a teenager now, reading is no longer a passion. While she likes to collect books, she only reads them at her own leisure. I think, to instill the habit of reading, merely introducing children to the wonderful world of books might not be enough. We have to do more than that to encourage a culture of reading. We have to constantly keep reiterating the value of reading to our children, only then will they gain interest in doing so. Telling them to make time for reading is also very important, especially at a time when there are so many distractions that could divert their attention elsewhere, such as social media and access to the internet.
As their role models, we, as parents, should not hesitate and in order for our children to gain a love for books, we too, should not give up our passion for reading!
By Harsh Sharma, a Dubai resident