One way to connect with your kids is to read with them. Certainly this is true when they are toddlers. They sit on your lap and love to hear your voice reading the story as they look at the drawings of bears or pigs, or cars and trucks, or princes and princesses. But reading together shouldn’t stop there!
Of course, sitting on your lap may go out of style, but when they become older you can read the same book at the same time and spend a few minutes a night discussing it. The book doesn’t have to be particularly educational, although it wouldn’t hurt. The discussion, the reading, the connection between parent and child is the important thing. Think of it as a family book club.
I remember the first book I really enjoyed reading as a kid was “Johnny Tremain”. It was historical, set in the early days of our country, but it was a story. I wanted to talk about it but no one else was reading it. Today there are scores of wonderful books written for young adults which are also enjoyable to adults. We’ve all heard of "Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling. I have heard of parents and their kids enjoying these series of books together, giving them something in common.
Finding books of common interest is key! If you find your son is becoming distant but you both like sports, find a good book on sports to read. There are tons of sports books available both fact and fiction. If you read the book separately, but during the same time period, you can discuss the plot, the characters, the parts you enjoyed, the lessons therein and more. This is a perfect way to keep in contact if the father is away for work, or doesn't live under the same roof. Finding something to talk about and having something in common could be a wonderful breakthrough for both of you!
Recently, I met a fellow rookie author at a book signing in Springfield, MO. He was a very pleasant older gentleman with distinguished careers in the FBI, higher education, and coaching basketball. His name is John Nickols and like me, he has a passion for baseball and wanted to write a novel involving his favorite pastime that also had Christian values. His book is entitled “The Last Three Outs”. It is the perfect example of a book that a sports loving father and son (or mother, or daughter) could both read, enjoy, and discuss. John told me he wanted to write a book that could be read by all, without unnecessary expletives or graphic sex scenes—perfect for sharing with a younger boy or girl.
"The Last Three Outs" is the story of a young man named Danny Hill who once had a promising career as a major league pitcher but hurt his arm, placing serious doubts regarding his future as a ball player. But his love for baseball kept him in the game, even at the lowest levels—until he met an old man in a nursing home who gave him hope, and a new pitch—a new pitch which helps him find his way to the Major Leagues! Needless to say, he finds challenges, love, and adventure along the way!
Filled with descriptive and knowledgeable baseball scenes, Jon Nickols, weaves an enjoyable and inspirational story of love, struggle and triumph. It is a story for both adults and kids alike that teaches, thankfully, that good guys can win even when tragic events interrupt their lives.
Reading/stories/discussion make(s) connections. Of course, if you like another sport, or another topic altogether, you will have no problem finding something you both will enjoy. But lean towards something your son or daughter likes to read about. Not only will you encourage a love of reading, you will find another way to connect to your kids. And that is the lesson here--connection with your children. Reading together, even separately, is just one way you may not have considered.
The Last Three Outs is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Hastings.com.