Open Sea

Both girls read all afternoon. It was enough to pinch myself with joy. Silently of course.

Is this what modern life has come to? The only way to get your children off their devices is to take them out to the middle of the sea – where there is no internet signal, and stick a book in their hands? I’m game.

It was so nice to watch. In fairness, they are both semi-enthusiastic readers – though only on the boat. At home, I never see them with a book in their hands. Even now, with the prospect of spending two solid weeks, quarantined on Quest as part of Bonaire’s requirement for entry, and the thing currently powering them along is the promise of wifi and Netflix.

I’m trying not to sweat it. We are all going to need significant time avoiding each other during our quarantine. Still, I’ve noticed something about the girls, which I’d forgotten and am reticent about mentioning in case I jinx it.

Ah, what the hell. They are much happier, better-behaved girls when they are reading. The more reading the better. They are noticeably chirpier. And I won’t name her, but our teenage bear with typically the sorest-head, is doing the most reading. Four books in a week so far.

She was a keen reader in the age when kids tend to become one – around the 8 years old mark. Then she got to about 12 and stopped reading. ‘Books are for neeks,’ she said. Handy word, I’ve learned. Incorporates both nerds and geeks together.

Kids are all about learning – for us parents. I’ve learned that if you can get a kid bored enough, they will read. I’ve learned you have to take them to open sea to do so. At least, I have to take mine to open sea. Finally, I’ve learned that once they start reading, they become, well, kids again.

They’re given a temporary respite from image-based competition. From working out their identities. The act of reading is working out their identities for them – if that makes sense. The stories they read and absorb is like a primal stamp on their souls. I might be going too deep now. We are out in the open sea.

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