This is a thought that has been mulling around in my head for a few days. The other day, I was having a conversation with my one of my son’s teaching assistants about children and reading. We were talking about the influence of nurture versus nature on children’s reading and enthusiasm for books. We are both avid readers and both have children who have ‘inherited’ a love of books. She was telling me how it amazed her that some children just don’t pick up the love for books. For whatever reason, they don’t get struck by the bug.
I posed the question to her of whether the fact my boys love reading was down to my ‘genetic’ love of reading (nature), clearly inherited from both my parents, or whether it was down to the extent to which they’ve absorbed my love of reading through seeing me read (nurture). Have they been surrounded by books since birth and picked up on my enthusiasm for books and stories? Or would they have grown up to love reading irrespective of the amount of books in the house?
I’ve been considering this, and I think that in our case at least nature must be a stronger influence than nurture. Certainty, I love books and I love reading. I own a lot of books. I work in the publishing industry. I have a book on the go (sometimes two) at all times. However, I am so busy most of the time that I rarely read during their waking hours. So, to what degree does nurture influence them? They hardly ever see me read. I do it mostly when they are asleep. Their father also likes reading. He reads a kindle, and also only when everyone else is asleep.
The evidence is clear, they love to read. Here are a few photos taken from near and in their bedrooms.
This house is overflowing with books. I moan about the books. I trip over the books. I am constantly picking up the books and piling them up. Books make them late for school. Books keep them in bed in the morning and keep them awake beyond lights out (the carefully positioned curtain to allow street light into the room in my middle son’s room is evidence of that).
Although I frequently moan about the amount of books in our house, the lateness of our children, and the amount of books and spare books they insist on taking on car journeys that last 10 minutes, I’m really quite pleased that they love books. Whoever said that boys don’t read hasn’t spent any time in my house. My boys love their books, perhaps too much sometimes. They drive me mad with their damn books! Books make them curious about the world. Books feed their thirst for knowledge and this makes me happy. Whether it be nature or nurture, my children are mini-mes.
If nothing else, this means I can leave my thousands of books to them when I trot off to the library in the sky.