May 13, 2011

Reading is Love

What an inspiring story this week about Jim Brozina and his daughter Alice Ozma.

Jim's wife left him when Alice was ten years old.

And when Alice started 4th grade, Jim (a retired librarian) made a challenge to his daughter to see how many nights they could read together in row--it was a way for them to spend time together and bond.

Well their "Streak" went on and on--for over 3000 nights--almost 9 years--until Alice's first night at Rutger's University.

Alice majored--of course--in English Literature.

And she wrote a book called "The Reading Promise" about her dad's selfless devotion and love to her, reading every night.

I remember as a kid, the commercials encouraging reading--"Reading is Fundamental".

Now I know that reading is not just fundamental (to learning and growth), but is also a way to love someone.

In the hustle and bustle of the 21st century, how many of us spend the time with our kids--consistently and with the utter devotion that this father did--one chapter a night, every night?

Aside from the lesson of selflessness in this story, I also see in this the message of incremental change and growth--by starting off with just 15 minutes a day and building on this incrementally, Jim and Alice were able to accomplish so much together over the years--in terms of learning and their relationship.

So while, the big blowout moments in life are significant memories for us and very often get a lot of emphasis (i.e. as in "let's make a memory"), the day-to-day consistent building of relationships and learning, can have a truly larger than life impact over the long-term.

On a more personal note, I remember when I was debating going back to school for my MBA (while working full-time during the day), and my dad encouraged me and told me that the years would come and go regardless, but that if I made the commitment, at the end, I would have something valuable to show for it.

I listened to his advice and went to school at night for what seemed like ages for an MBA and then numerous certifications and other learning opportunities, and I am always glad that I did. Dad was right...the years pass regardless, but your hard work pays off. I will always be grateful to him for that advice and support--love comes in many shapes and sizes.


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