No Book, No Way: when children love the things we love

A few days ago, my daughter said, “Do you know what my motto is? No book, no way!”

It reminded me of how I can’t help but feel warm inside when my child loves the things I love, and also how uncomfortable it can be when they don’t.

I think it’s okay to acknowledge this – it’s probably a normal human emotion, right? We feel a bond with people who share our passions and interests.

But I think what we do with it is in a way more crucial – do we praise them for it, in the hopes that this will encourage them? Do we expect them to always love reading, because they do right now? How do we manage our approval?

I find this kind of manipulation doesn’t sit so well with me. I love sharing my love of reading with my child, but I’m also cautious to not have expectations about where she is going to go with it. I’ll always support her but I don’t want to take over her interest with my own agenda.

I’m not sure this is something I’ve always been very good at. I’m working on it.

I will always aim to give equal value to all my children’s interests and to always support them, no matter whether I can personally relate or not.

I not only want to do this, but I want them to feel like that’s what I do – these are two separate things, and the distinction is everything.

I watch myself react to “no books no way” and wonder whether I did the same when I asked my son what his goal was for the next few months, and he said “land a tail whip on my scooter.”

I’d like to think I was equally as supportive and enthusiastic, even though I may not have felt the same as I felt after the “No book, no way!” comment, but how did he experience it?

Sure, it’s easier to be excited about things you already find joy and inspiration in, but how much more mind-opening and challenging (in a good way!) is it to be a child’s champion even if you don’t really relate to their passions at all?

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