I, like most parents, tend to want to take credit for every brilliant thing my daughter does. Like the time we pulled up at my parents’ house, and I asked her “Journey do you know whose house we’re at?”, and she replied from her rear-facing car seat “Grand-mama.” I chuckled so hard and shot a quick text message to Terece telling her what had just happened, before getting Journey out of the car and into the house. There was also that time the other day when we asked Journey if she had to use the Potty and she replied “yes,” so I told her to go upstairs and use the Potty. She proceeds to march up the stairs and go into her bathroom and sit on her Potty, after sitting there for about 45 seconds she tinkled in the toddler size Potty designed to mimic an actual toilet. I use these two examples because no one told her that this was Grand-mama's house, or that this is what you do when you sit on the potty (Side Note: we officially start Potty training this week), she just knew.

However, there are things that our children do and say that we can fully take credit for. One of those things for me is Journey’s ability as a 1-year-old to count to ten (10) and say her ABC’s (also recognizing each letter when she sees it). Per usual I can’t take sole responsibility for this, because she does have a Mom and Grand-mama x2 who are always teaching her things. This blog post is my attempt to acknowledge my role. Before sharing my specific role in Journey’s ability to count to 10 and say her ABC’s without assistance, I want to recognize the power of digital literacy tools like our iPhone’s and iPad’s as well as impactful teaching shows like: Sesame Street, Motown Magic, Super Why, Veggie Tales, and The Wiggles to name a few. I know from experience and talking to other parents that we all struggle with the question of, what’s an appropriate amount of screen time for our children (TV, Tablets, Phones, etc.). Many of us can feel like horrible people in general when our behaviors go against the recommendations of agencies like the American Heart Association (AHA) and others. According to the AHA children between the age of 2 to 5 should be limited to one hour per day of screen time. YIKES!!

(Note To Reader: I often miss the mark on this)

All things in moderation right, I take that report with a grain of salt. With recommendations like this from AHA I’m reminded of some advice Terece’s dad gave us before we got married, “you can listen to other folks advice all you want, but it’s your marriage, and Y'all have to agree with what decisions you make in your house.” Amen! His point resonates with parenting as well, you have to do what you believe to be best for your child, and for some, it may be three (3) hours of TV a day vs. one (1) hour. It may be the decision to feed them meat or restrict meat and sweets from their diet (a topic for another blog post). When Terece was pregnant with Journey, folks would always say to us “make sure you read to the baby every day, even before she is born.” As good as that advice was, and as much as I wanted to follow it, I have to admit I have fallen short. Nevertheless, I(we) still strive to achieve the goal of reading to Journey daily, which is the purpose of this post.

[If you’ve read this far, thank you!]

My purpose in writing this is to acknowledge the power of reading often (if not daily) with your child. One of Journey’s favorite things to do is to have Terece, or I read a book with her before bedtime, we have already witnessed the results of regular reading and are excited that Journey at the tender age of one (1) is already developing a love for books and reading!

For the last four years, I’ve been the Executive Director of a non-profit with a mandate of moving the needle in literacy for kids in grades K – 4th, especially those who are not reading on grade level by the 3rd grade (age 7 – 8). Through the lenses of my professional career and my desire as a parent to equip my daughter for her future, I understand how important it is to introduce children to reading (reading comprehension as well, but reading for sure) as soon as possible.

Dads & Moms who read this post, will you join me in committing to reading to our children daily. They will thank us at their graduations, weddings, the launching of businesses, and award ceremonies!

Note to Parents: Create an atmosphere of learning for your child, and they will thrive!

P.S. Thank you Auntie KK for gifting Journey with our featured book (Mr. Bear's ABC)


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