From as early as I can remember, I was enthralled with storytelling. Before I was born, my mom would read stories to me, hoping that I’d listen to the whimsical tales from inside the womb. Her dreams came true, once I was old enough to read. Instead of letting my sister and I have unlimited hours of screen time, my parents ensured that we’d develop a love for reading, just like them.
Books were consistently present during my childhood. Whether they were about a big red dog, sharks, or princesses, stories were a central part of my life. Not many kids my age liked reading, but my parents curated a true appreciation for sitting down with a good book, and I couldn’t be happier. As a thank you to them, here are 10 reasons why I’m glad that my parents pushed me to read.
1. Reading Made Me Curious
Even from a young age, I constantly wanted to copy what my parents were doing. Whether that be trying to juggle pots and pans, looking at our old computer, or taking naps when they did, I just wanted to try what they were up to. Luckily, that copycat side of me transitioned into reading whenever they did.
And once I picked up a book, the questions wouldn’t stop coming. My mom must’ve heard “But why?” at least a thousand times when I was growing up. This might’ve been annoying then, but it’s only benefited me now. I question everything around me, wondering why things work the way they do, and how we can do things differently. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it flourished in me.
2. Reading Made Me Creative
Without the wonders of reading, I don’t think I’d be writing at Bookstr today! Just by opening up a book, I was transported into a whole world of creativity. And even after I closed the cover, I’d still be reminiscing over the stories from bedtime. My mom and dad can attest to this boost in creative energy. I was constantly bugging them by explaining my elaborate ideas based on books I read.
This would only help me later in life. While my imagination flew off the page, it landed in other interests like drawing, painting, acting, singing, and anything dealing with artistic expression. My creativity is something that I’m still proud of, and when I look back at my work, I can wholeheartedly know that it was because my parents fanned the flames of my love for reading.
3. Reading Made Me Form A Better Bond With My Parents
There hasn’t been a time when I wasn’t close to my parents. I might sound uncool to many 20-year-olds out there, but I love hanging out with my family. We’ve always enjoyed spending time together, and that love goes back to my toddlerhood. Reading with my mom and dad gave me time to relax and destress.
I felt comforted and loved whenever my parents came in for a bedtime story. It was just a time between the two of us. Wrapped up in warm blankets and pillows, storytime became one of my favorite times of the day. Not just because of the wonders of a new book every night, but because I got to spend time with the ones who love me the most. Even now, I still get excited to watch a TV show with my family.
4. Reading Was A Way To Escape
During my childhood, my family moved 13 times around the country. Bouncing from school to school and leaving behind friends took its toll on me after some time. But I knew of one way to escape all my troubles, and I found it in reading. I have vivid memories of being entranced by the Magic Tree House series. I could sit in that little Georgia library for hours.
I wasn’t simply reading at that point, I was a part of the story. The words on the pages played like a movie in my mind, shifting from one scene to the next. Inside the depths of a book, I didn’t have any worries anymore. Whether it was for twenty minutes or two hours, I could be rid of reality, and feel at home in fantasy.
5. Reading Taught Me To Think Critically
I didn’t know it at the time, critical thinking would be one of the best skills I’d take away from being a bookworm. Along with being curious about my surroundings, I desperately wanted to understand things that were above my pay grade. As I got older, it began to get easier to decipher and interpret the knowledge I now possessed.
This certainly came in handy during high school and college. Many in my grade hated having to analyze sonnets and novels, but I was in my element. Reading showed me there are so many different ways to interpret not only books but real-life situations as well. I don’t think I’ll be taking this skill for granted anytime soon.
6. Reading Opened My Eyes To Other Ways Of Life
Moving 13 times definitely helped me see the world from a different view, but there are so many other places to explore than just the United States. Thankfully, the realm of reading made up for it. If I wanted to, I could transport myself to Egypt, Greece, or Japan, all by turning a page. In our society, we can get so wrapped up in Western ideology, that we forget we’re not the only people occupying this planet.
Books help bridge the ocean-sized gap between us and others. We can learn about different cultures, traditions, and lifestyles all from the comfort of our homes. This proved to be a great resource for me. As an angsty teenager, I desperately wanted to learn about other places, hoping to leave my small midwestern town as quickly as I could.
7. Reading Taught Me Empathy
One of the most important things my parents ever taught me was to treat others with kindness and compassion. They cemented this belief by encouraging me to read stories about every walk of life. And boy did it work. From elementary school, there would be times when you’d see me crying into the pages of my book. I felt so hard for the characters when the going got tough, that I wished to help them in any way I could.
Along with my critical thinking skills, empathy is one of my most prized character traits that’s attributed to reading. I’m already an emotional person, and reading about the trials and tribulations of others only makes my heart go out to them more. We need more empathy in the world, and a great way to gain it is through reading.
8. Reading Inspired Me To Follow My Dreams
I get attached to the characters in my books very quickly. I’m always in awe of the obstacles they overcome and the relationships they make. I wanted to be like the strong characters in my books when I was younger, but I never knew how. When I made it into my senior year of high school, I had a breakthrough. I didn’t need to slay dragons or defeat villainous foes. I could simply choose my own path, and that’s exactly what I did.
Books gave me the confidence to go after what I wanted in life. With the support of my parents, I ended up moving (once again) to a city that could help me achieve my dreams. I never would’ve done so without the guidance of the stories that have stuck with me into adulthood.
9. Reading Made Me Major In What I Love
I was 15 when I decided to become a writer. I didn’t know what to do or where to start, but I was set on achieving my dreams. It only made sense to move from the rural midwest to a bustling city. I ended up studying in Chicago, Illinois, which coincidently is where I was born. Talk about a full-circle moment. At Roosevelt University, I studied what I had always dreamed of, English and creative writing.
In school, my love for reading only grew. While it could be tiresome and overwhelming at times, I was reading all sorts of texts. I soaked up knowledge like a sponge, craving to know everything I could about the subject and more. College gave me the opportunity to figure out who I am as a writer and reader. I wouldn’t have gotten my degree if it wasn’t for the support of my parents and my love of literature.
10. Reading Made Me Who I Am Today
When I look back on my life so far, it all could’ve been so different if my parents didn’t encourage me to read. My whole life has revolved around my love of storytelling and creativity. Without books, that’s all gone. I could’ve studied something totally different. Somewhere in an alternative dimension, I might’ve been great at math instead of reading (that’s a scary thought). Amongst all the what-ifs, I know one thing is certain. I wouldn’t be who I am today without reading.
Luckily, I live in the dimension where my love of reading stands strong. The stories I’ve read have made me kind, curious, and creative. But the real MVPs out of all of this are my parents. Thanks to my mom and dad, I have a good head on my shoulders filled with stories and wisdom. Sometimes, all you need is a little push from your parents. It can truly make all the difference.
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