Sunday, March 28, 2010

Never complain, never explain...

It is a great bit of advice, variously attributed to Henry
Ford II, Katharine Hepburn, Benjamin Disraeli, Sir Francis
Bacon, and others.


I am going to ignore the advice for the moment and explain
why Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook made the list
posted yesterday of influential books in my life.


In 2001 I was freshly divorced and single parenting two
children seven days out of fourteen. The kids were ages 6
and 10 at the time of the divorce. They were, and are,
great (just because I'm biased doesn't make me wrong).
Anyway, as you might suspect, between the three of us
there was a significant amount of hurt, confusion, and
anger. Communication between us sometimes felt like
open warfare.


I explained our situation to a wise friend who suggested
I get a copy of Read-Aloud Handbook, and read it. I did
both of those things. Then I changed my behavior.
Among other things, after the kids got in bed for the
night, I would sit in the hallway between their
bedrooms and read aloud to them for ten or twenty
minutes. They liked it- and so did I. It amazed me
how quickly our group dynamics changed. Almost like
magic, much of the tension went away, allowing other
changes. Open warfare soon became a thing of the past.
We became a happier and, I dare say, healthier trio.


Now you know why Read-Aloud Handbook made the list.

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