I come from a family of readers. My husband has handled books professionally for a career, and our family used the “great books” as the major educator for our children’s home-based learning. Ask me sometime for the story of how we handled it when our young daughter said she couldn’t read in the car and it made her sick!
For a while now, I’d been fighting the all too human desire to read fresh stories. Why? Because they were all online! And I already have way too much screen time. Books should be touched, smelled, carried, and caressed as they are read. Does it really count as reading if it is done electronically? But all the public libraries in our country were closed. I didn’t and still don’t have access to soil to stick my gardener’s hands into and come up with dirt under my nails, to my husband’s chagrin. And exercise is limited to running a respectfully distant one meter apart – kinda makes chatting in between gasps for air more challenging than usual.
I just didn’t want any more screen time! But I also found that some of my normal ways of managing stress (prayer and reading scripture are ALWAYS available to me), just weren’t available. And I had been hearing of the challenges to mental health that this era was bringing. You can read more here: http://ericgeiger.com/2020/04/covid-19-and-a-pastors-concern-for-our-mental-health/
A long time ago, I learned that when I’m feeling restless or “looking for trouble” the best way to change my attitude is to look beyond myself. Who could I bless in a way that is life-giving to both me and someone else?
And then I remembered some of the children of my co-workers. What were they doing with the excess stress of their lives? How could they “get out and play?” What about their parents? I wondered if there would be some very tiring and trying days in those households. How could we bless each other?
I reached out to their parents. Would their children be available for 30 minutes on Thursday for stories? No school agenda, no requirement to speak? They could just bring a sketch pad and pencils or a stuffed animal to keep them company.
How could I make this online video connection special for them?
Wear something special?
Make sure we start on time with a Dad joke?
Find a timeless story with lots of speaking roles and deliver the story using in-character voices?
We’ve now met online for 3 nights, sharing stories, drawings, and jokes. I think I’ve just met my goal for the week:
Working with diligence to be productive on various projects and not cause trouble at home.
And I think I’m more at peace with myself and discovered it IS OKAY to read books online. I downloaded a reading app and have begun reading a new book.