SahmatworkMy nine year old daughter, lovingly referred to as "Thinker", brought home a book from a friend yesterday. I saw her reading it in the car, thought nothing of it, as her teacher often gives reading assignments to the class. At home I noticed that this book was occupying her time and distracting her from just about everything else. When I asked for the book she was reading, she suddenly got nervous and said, "It’s a book from my friend."

I asked, "Did I approve this book for you?"

She said, "My teacher has the same book."

I asked her to bring it to me, to which she made a scowling face. I said, "Now, please."

She brought me the book, "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid". Immediately I was suspicious. I instructed her to start homework while I looked over her new book.

I can see why this book and its series are attractive to kids. The illustrations are cartoons and the language is what they can relate to. This is what makes it so dangerous. It takes lack of morals or lack of manners and colors it up to look fun and inviting.

However, upon skimming a few pages, I quickly saw how inappropriate this book really is. She had read half the book, and I know, that she knew, it wasn’t acceptable reading. In my few minutes of seeing this boy describe magazines with women sprawled across race cars as well as mocking his own mother in this ‘diary’, I knew, enough was enough.

I informed Thinker, this book is not approved and that Dad would be talking with her later that night.

I called my husband. Knowing my emotional response wouldn’t teach her what I needed her to learn, I asked him, to somehow incorporate the message of what reading junk will do to her mind and soul. I asked him to teach her that she has a choice of what to fill her mind with.

Does this boy’s example inspire you to do your best? Does this book help you to do the right thing?

After dinner last night, Dad began his formative lesson with Thinker. And let me tell you, it was brilliance. As she was studying for her tests, he gave her a Chinese salty plum, which is like a Chinese candy, but has a strong tasting mix of sweet, salt and vinegar which demands a drink after only a few minutes. After having her suck on it for a while, he gave her another one. She asked for a drink, to which he said, "Not yet."

I never knew how the face could contort until I saw Thinker last night, sucking on these salty plums. It was obvious she was not enjoying this experience, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure what direction my husband was heading.

After about twenty minutes, and her thirst probably unbelievable, he brought three cups to the table.

One cup had hot clean water.

One cup had cold clean water.

One cup was full of ice.

He also brought a spoon full of coffee grounds, some sugar and some pieces of bread. He asked her, "Do you want a drink of water?"

She said, "YES! Please!"

He gave her the hot water. She took a huge gulp, slammed it down, and said,

"Yuck, it’s hot."

He asked her, "Yes, but it helped your thirst didn’t it?"

She answered, "Yes a little."

He added a little bit of cold water to the hot water. "Now try this." He said.

She did and told him it was a bit better. He also added the ice and then some sugar which made her eyes widen with joy and expectation waiting for a drink. He then poured his coffee grounds into the water cup and mixed it up as well as some coffee, he had been drinking. Thinker making a confused face just watched in silence. He then tore up pieces of the bread and put it into the warm, brown mixture. He stirred it. Thinker said, "Gross, Dad."

He said to take a sip. Thinker said, "It’s gross Dad!"

He said,

"Take a sip. Tell me how it is."

She did, and told him how gross it tasted.

He then filled the cup of leftover ice with cold water and put it next to the brown mixture. He asked her, "Which one do you want to drink?"

Still craving liquid to quench her thirst, she asked for the nice, clean, cold cup of water. He asked her, "How do you think this drink will be?"

She smiled big and he told her she could have it.

After gulping the cold, clean water, and now recovered from her parched taste buds, he turned on the formation. He went on to explain how what we read can turn our minds and souls into that brown, cloudy mixture of muck. We have choices to make. We decide how to fill our minds and souls. He asked her, "Which one of these cups do you think you should fill up on?"

She pointed to the clean water cup, of course.

He went on pointing to the warm, brown mixture, "When you read junk or watch trash your mind turns to this."

Thinkers eyes began to well up. *bing*  She understood.

He finished saying, "When you come to making a decision of what to read or what not to read, think of these two cups, then, make the right choice."

Thinker was handed a saint book to read to clear her mind of all that she absorbed from the "Wimpy Kid". I, for one, will be keeping much closer tabs on the reading choices of my children.  My ‘Work’ is never done, but I can say, with all certainty that I have a partner in the process.  A dad’s place in his daughter’s heart is immeasurable.

Copyright 2010 Sahmatwork