Bedtime Stories Should be Banned?

When I was growing up, one of my fondest memories was the chapter of a book my mother would read to us each night after we said our prayers. We raised our children the same way with prayers and then everyone gathered around the bed, favorite book in hand, waiting for their turn to have Dad read it to them. Dad got the job because he did the voices much better than I did, besides, I usually had a baby in arms to tend to but we were still there for the reading time. Imagine my surprise to see these ‘studies’ released on the subject:

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/reading-to-children-at-bedtime-abc-questions-value-of-time-honoured-practice/story-fni0cx12-1227335151442

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/philosopherszone/new-family-values/6437058

The first link pertains to it being unfair that some children were read to by their parents and other children were less fortunate so, instead of encouraging ALL parents to read bedtime stories, it is discussed whether it would be more ‘fair’ to discourage the parents who read bedtime stories. It seems children who were read to did better in their choices, academics, and life than others who did not have this ‘unfair’ advantage.

The second link seems very worried about the impact of family in the social structure and muse over the premise that the social structure would be more ‘fair’ if there was not a family unit that takes a side swipe at the ‘impaired’ family units. Seems like both are a case of ‘don’t amend what needs fixing but take away the working group in order to make it more ‘fair’ to the ones that aren’t working.

The word ‘fair’ is used a lot in our liberal culture of today and appears in most every country. When I was growing up and someone wasn’t chosen for a team or got a bad grade, you were sure to hear the one that didn’t work for the goal of being on a team or studied for a good grade complain, “It’s not fair!” The cure in our culture that seems to be circling the drain is to ‘make’ it all fair even if it isn’t fair to the group that is doing well with their family life and horrors or horrors, reading to their children!

This sort of thinking is a long time in coming and has been simmering for a long time. About twenty years ago, I was at the grocery store and chatting with the cashier who I had gotten to know over my years of shopping there. She mentioned that her five year old was reading at a second grade level because she read to her at bedtime and they played games learning words . . . but would have to stop. Naturally, I asked WHY? She said the teacher informed her that having a child in Kindergarten that was so advanced of the rest of the class was disruptive and if she continued teaching her child at home and usurping the teacher’s ‘authority’, the teacher felt she had no choice but to turn her into Child Services for child abuse. The cashier later studied to get her teaching degree and I imagine it was to try and provide a sane corner of the world in the school system.

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