When my wife, Ellen, was pregnant with Alex, she and I signed up for a birthing class at a nearby hospital. In this class we met another pregnant woman who loved to share very long and very personal stories about her life. As she relayed these stories, her husband would sit beside her and attempt to become invisible. The couple made quite an impression on me.
One of the ways I hoped to get my (then-three-year-old) son interested in reading was to leave him little notes at the breakfast table. After all, what could be more fun than getting a loving note every morning from your dear ol’ Dad?
But, since I am incapable of doing anything in a small way, I took my note idea to the next level. It’s always fun to get mail, so I sealed each note in an envelope; printed my son’s name and address on the front; and, for that extra dose of authenticity, drew on a stamp. (“Celebrate Cows,” was the first subject.) “There!” I thought. “That will get my boy interested in reading!”
Instead, it got my boy interested in stamp collecting. From the second note on, he carefully ripped the stamp off the envelope and stored it in a shoebox. The notes were glanced at briefly, handed to Mom to read aloud, and then discarded without a second thought. So while I’m pleased to report that my son – who is now five – reads with enthusiasm, my grand note experiment had absolutely nothing to do with it.