Ruth Ann Adams

5 X Mama: Travel Tales, Faith Stories and Children's Literature

5 X Mama, Happy Mother’s Day!

with 4 comments

Head Shot   I looked at my young daughter, her stomach artistically decorated with bright markers. There was no doubt in my mind as to what had inspired her. The night before, we had read Purple, Green and Yellow by Robert Munsch, a children’s story  in which the heroine, Brigid, “…colored her belly-button blue. And that was so pretty, she colored herself all sorts of colors almost entirely all over.” The artwork faded from my daughter’s skin, but  her passion for books continued.  Now, as an adult in her twenties, Andrea  devours books, even if she refrains from plastering her belly-button with markers!

As a 5 X Mama, with four daughters and one son, I am convinced that one of the most important things you can do for your children is to read to them. Books have always played a huge role in my own life. My mother said, that as a child, I carried a book with me on outings, instead of a doll. Libraries were like treasures mines, complete with enticing covers, intriguing titles and dramatic tales. By the time I was eleven, I managed to talk the children’s librarian of our local library into hiring me as a page, to put books away and do other small duties. Finally, I entered the classroom as an   English teacher, sharing novels, poems and drama with teenagers, before embarking on another exciting career, as a 5 X Mama. Naturally, books were right, left and centre in our home.

My husband shared  my passion. When our babies were born, he read and re-read The Lord of the Rings trilogy, while he rocked fussy infants to sleep, and generously gave me some rest. Then when they were older – but not much older – he read the trilogy to them. When our youngest daughter turned 18 last November, her older sister, who once coloured her tummy-button, did much of the work planning a surprise Lord of the Rings theme party for her, complete with costumes, decorations and special food such as “orc pudding.”  My husband, dressed up as Gandalph, read to his now adult children, from one of Tolkien’s books.

All of our lives we tell ourselves stories, and we share those stories with others. Words have the unique ability to create, to empower, and ultimately to determine the course of our days. When children hear a wide variety of stories, the possibilities for creative and imaginative excursions are endless. Through stories, children learn how to respond intelligently and sensitively to the many influences and circumstances of their lives. They learn to look beyond themselves to the needs of others and to relate compassionately to people different from themselves.

In  5 X Mama, one of my goals is to share some of the wonderful stories I enjoyed with my own children, as well as to explore newer books. The possibilities are endless and in this age of digital distractions, it is perhaps more important than ever, that books make an immediate and emphatic presence in children’s lives. Besides all of this, reading books with children is just plain fun and gives parents, grandparents and educators opportunities to connect and converse, that would perhaps otherwise be lost.

the mothers day mice

An enchanting Mother’s Day book to share with your little ones is The Mother’s Day Mice by Eve Bunting. Three mice, Biggest, Middle and Little, go on a private adventure to find just the right gift for their mother. In spite of courting near disaster with a cat, each finds something special. Little discovers the best gift within himself  and in a spirit of generosity says that his present is from them all! Jan Brett’s detailed and colourful illustrations perfectly complement the text.

Do you have books you treasured as a child or enjoy reading to your children? I would love to hear about them! Have a memorable and blessed Mother’s Day!

Disclaimer: Copies of books discussed are my own or from the library, unlessotherwise stated.

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Written by Ruth Ann Adams

May 9, 2013 at 9:54 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Reading to our children is such a valuable investment — even when we think they’re too young to catch the meaning in the words, they gain from hearing our voices. We gain too. I remember reading Lord of the Rings to my boys when they were old enough to follow the story but not to read it themselves, and although I’d already read it a few times myself, something about the slower pace and speaking the words helped me finally understand and find compassion for one of the characters who I’d always discounted before that.

    Janet Sketchley

    May 14, 2013 at 12:08 am

  2. I loved hearing about your experience reading The Lord of the Rings out loud to your boys. Susanna would love to know which character you are referring to! She is an ardent Lord of the Rings fan. Speaking the words out loud really does make a difference in understanding a book. Reading to your children has to be one of the very best investments you can make! Thanks, Janet!

    Ruth Ann Adams

    May 14, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    • It was Boromir. I’d always sort of written him off as having bad motives, but somehow, reading it aloud, I realized that Boromir represents *us* — human beings, passionate about wanting to do good but pushing to do it in our own strength — and in that human strength, destined to be deceived and defeated.

      One of my favourite Bible verses is Proverbs 3:5-6 about “trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding” — Boromir, like me too often, is an example of what happens when we don’t do it that way. I’m very fond of him now (as of the rest of the Fellowship) and glad he found redemption.

      Janet Sketchley

      May 16, 2013 at 5:11 pm

  3. I have always found Boromir harder to understand as well and what you said, Janet, gives me more insight into him. Susanna could completely understand how you would have more trouble understanding him at first. I have always seen him as kind of a sad or tragic character. He does try in his own strength, and of course, fails. It is interesting because I am using that verse in Proverbs with my Sunday School kids tomorrow. I need to remember this verse in my own life, and not do things in my own strength. Thanks, Janet. I really enjoy your comments, and I also liked what you said about adoration being the most important part of prayer, in your blog posting. There is so much we can all learn from each other. Thanks!!


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