Blu's First Riding Lessons
I couldn't stop thinking of how great it felt to ride a horse 2 weeks ago. The last time I felt this burn inside my gut was when I first picked up a bow, and maybe perhaps the last time Blu's mom cooked for me (funny story). Western-style seems more organic, wild, adventurous. English seems more about control, discipline, order, and even art in a way. The bond you must achieve between man and beast in order to ride in unison is just so incredible. I already have running, photography, archery, and calligraphy keeping me busy. Is riding my next move? If you explore and try new things, then eventually... some of those things will ignite a fire in you that will just force your attention.
This past Saturday, Blu and I got our first official lesson by champion dressage/hunter rider, Marisol. Marisol also happens to practice mounted archery! Marisol complimented me privately regarding Blu, saying she seems to have a natural knack for the sport.
In one memorable moment, while riding, Blu goes to me, "Dad, watch this! I'm going to make you proud of me!" I replied. "Bella, I'm already proud of you!" Blu responded with a smile.
At a birthday party, Blu is on top of the monkey bars and a parent comes up to me and says...
"Aren't you afraid she'll fall?"
"So why do you seem so calm?"
"Well, I have to let her be free to take risks. If she falls, she'll learn. If she doesn't, she'll feel accomplished."
She did not fall.
The moment she realizes that her dad is wearing a chef's hat while cooking."Daddy? Umm, what are you wearing?"
Reading to Children
I've been reading to Blu every day since she was in her mother's womb. In fact, I remember the first book ever read to her. Don't laugh... it was Vampire Hunter D.
What a story pick eh? A story about vampires, blood, gore, deaths... and love. All this for an unborn? Yeah haha. Still, the point was that is she read to as often as possible. Recently, I have begun asking Blu to read to me on the days I do not have her during our nightly phone call.
Why is this so important? Well, reading to books to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world around them. It helps them learn the language and develop listening skills. What does this mean? It means it will help them understand the written word. When reading becomes a part of a child's life, learning to read and write becomes as natural as learning to walk and talk.
Being a single parent, it can be difficult at times to find the time to sit down and read to/with her, but taking the time every night to read to her will ingrain a very important lesson in life. Reading is worthwhile.
Building a stronger Relationship and Bond
Since she was born, I would put her to sleep by cuddling up with her on my chest. She's growing older now, with the ability to run, explore, and play with friends. One constant between us is slowing down the hecticness of the day and turning book reading into a nurturing activity that brings us closer together. She nick named me "Cozy Daddy." Embarrassed at times when she calls me cozy daddy in front of others, but I remind myself that it's a sign of a strong bond she has with me and it's something I should embrace.
It's known that children who are read to have a higher aptitude for learning in general. Studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education. This makes sense, because if someone struggles with words and sentences, how can they be expected to grasp math, science, and social concepts?
Now and then I change things by asking Blu to read to me instead. As she gains more and more practice, she not only develops her reading skills but also her speech skills, improving her ability to speak clearly. For her school graduation, Blu gave the commencing speech... and she hit it out of the park!
Better Communication Skills
Children bear witness to the interaction between characters in the storyline and thus be able to express themselves, healthily, better than children who are not read to. Know those terrible two's you hear about? You can prevent it by just reading to your kids.
Enhanced Concentration and Discipline
So toddlers tend to be very jumpy and have short attention spans. Along with reading comprehension comes a stronger self-discipline, longer attention span, and better memory retention.
Well... you get the point. If you are a parent, I encourage you to read to your children every night. While at times it will feel as if you simply don't have time for it, do so, for the time invested today will reward you tenfold later on in ALL aspects of child raising. Honestly, if I was read to every day when I was a child, not only would I be writing better in this blog, but perhaps... perhaps... my entire life would be different than what it is today. I would most likely be better off in all aspects of my life as well.
Remember one key rule when reading to your kids... have fun while you're at it.