Home > parenting, Wilson Stories > my own reading story

my own reading story

Lee here.

Several of you shared your childhood experience with reading on my last ‘book thoughts’ post, something I am quite thankful for and helped by.

I realized that is was not fair of me to ask for you to tell your stories if I kept mine to myself, so here goes…

libraryarchI was a chunky little fat man baby.

That has nothing to do with anything involving reading – its just true.

I was born a normal size and then I ballooned into, well, a human balloon.  No neck, many rolls, cankles (that’s a guess), and I ended up drinking my way up to 24 pounds at the 12 month mark.

Then I started to read – or so I thought.

I guess that I convinced myself that I was such a curious and brilliant child that I taught myself to read the summer before kindergarten.  For the last 25 years I have been deceiving myself, evidently I learned how to read just like everybody else and at about the same time as everybody else – thanks for cutting me down a couple of notches Mom.

My first memory of reading was that summer before my first grad year, I don’t remember who was sitting with me (probably my mom), but I remember getting help with Dr. Seuss’ classic “Green Eggs and Ham”.  I ran down the stairs at my grandparents’ house to show off my new skills and I remember being really satisfied that I knew how to read.

I had a knack for words. I enjoyed reading them and came to enjoy figuring out how to put them together in sentences, paragraphs, and pages.

I loved words and reading so much that I worried my parents.

At times, they forced me to put my book down so that I would actually be able to see what was happening outside of the car.  On trips to my grandparents’ house I would read for 5 hours straight, knocking out multiple books and stopping only to purchase and eat Spree candies (I had actually thinned out at this point, so quit snickering).

As I grew older, my parents actually started to worry that I would never learn how to drive a car.  They worried that I would never know where I was going and I would get lost constantly because I never paid attention where we were going when we were driving in the car.

My love for reading didn’t prevent me from getting my driver’s license, but it did prevent me from being an exceptional student in high school and college.  Who wanted to read those boring books that the teachers and professors assigned, anyways?

Graduating from college and entering into seminary, to my surprise, came as a tremendous shock to my system.  I had anticipated that I would thrive in a place where great books were assigned by the professors – I was wrong.

For whatever reason the deadlines, the massive reading loads, and my own tendency towards procrastination created the perfect academic whirlwind.  I found myself struggling to enjoy books, to get lost in the written page, and discovered that reading could be cumbersome, exhausting, and laborious.

Seminary killed my love for reading.

I realize that statement sounds accusatory, but I don’t blame seminary as much as I blame my own lack of wisdom in entering into seminary (I will elaborate in a future post).

There were many times when I found myself reading pages at a time, reflecting back, and realizing that the entire time I had been reading I was meditating on my deadline – not on the live giving truth inked into the pages of the amazing book in my hands.

There were many times when I would find myself thinking, “I cannot wait to be done with seminary so I can take the time to slow down and really read this book… savor the cuisine rather than choke down the grub.”

I wish I could say that all is well for me.

I wish I could say that moving to Jackson, Tennessee and cutting back my seminary hours solved the problem.

I wish that opening up a book didn’t still feel like a yoke over my shoulders.

I wish that I could get lost in the pages again.

There are days when that wish feels like it is within my grasp, that I am experiencing the good days again. Let’s hope that those days multiply and the business of reading becomes the joy of reading again – and soon.

  1. Benjamin Ferrell
    January 3, 2009 at 4:16 am

    Me getting a job made me lose my hunger for books.
    Now I just buy books in hope that I read them.
    I don’t know why I can’t.

  2. January 6, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Definitely can relate to your experience. loved to read growing up and still do, but seminary made me focus on getting things done on time and being able to sign a statement saying I had done all the reading. Now i feel like i need to go back through much of the reading that I did so quickly.

    I do enjoy reading when I sit down to do it, but sometimes it feels like something i’m doing out of duty rather than joy (there’s the Piper coming out in me again). But there is something terribly satisfying about reading. I got to do some extra over the holidays – gotta love the holidays – and i’m reading “Amusing Ourselves to Death”. pretty interesting. you’d like it.

    miss ya bro. hope you’re having a good day.

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