So our pre-teen is now reading a chapter book a day. Sometimes in two or three days, depending on how much free time she has. I have to admit, when I was her age I was bringing in the grades but you wouldn’t catch me reading in my spare time. I think that was my motivation to get her to love reading. I read all of the “how to teach your baby to read” books before she was born and concluded that we needed to read to her as much as we could. And that we did. By four years old she had tested into Kindergarten a year early. She’s always stayed a step ahead, making us so proud.
I don’t take credit though. She is a self-motivated, brilliant, and independent thinker. Last school year was her first in middle school. We challenged her – get all A’s and earn a trip to Disney World. So, what happened? Yep, Disney! We hit her with the whole “surprise, we’re actually headed to the airport right now” bit and everything. This schoolyear she is continuing to prove herself by pulling in good grades and attempting to stay out of trouble.
I’ve gotten into the routine of coming home, searching for books that might interest her, putting them on hold online at our local library, then swinging by and picking them up when they’re available. She literally jumps into the car, sticks her face into the book, reads all the way home. Sometimes until dinner. I can’t complain. Not a bad habit to have.
So now her question is – should she be “rewarded” with an iPhone. Let’s face it, “everyone else has one”. But I can be a bit prudish at times. Smartphones are so unfiltered; too adult in my opinion. I worry that her hands on her piano and nose in her books will turn into eyes on screens and fingers on keys. I could list a dozen reasons why a 12 year old should not have a smartphone.
I’ve oftentimes told her that maybe she’s the “only one” without one because she’s different, unique, the one who stands out in the crowd. Hard for her to see that. Maybe I do need to loosen up a bit and put myself in her shoes. The last thing I want is to be a close-minded, my-way-or-the-highway, my house/my rules type of parent. As a person who seeks understanding in others and is an avid lifelong learner, I have to be open to changing my mind. Her four page well-written letter to me with reasons she should have an iPhone actually opened my mind and reminded me of just how smart and capable she is. We’ve raised a responsible young lady. I’m just not ready though. She’s still my first baby 💛