I glance into the bedroom and see my oldest curled up in a rocking chair by the window. Afternoon light falls across her shoulder and onto the pages of the novel she’s been devouring since morning. This kid has always been a reader.
When she was young, I carefully curated the books we read together. Then her brother and sister came along. Our family entered a long season in which I was slightly overwhelmed almost all of the time. Digital devices multiplied while print declined. The kids got Legos and games as gifts, not books. The breadth and depth of our reading suffered.
This summer when I was organizing the kids’ bookshelves, I found the usual suspects: Curious George, Eloise, Peter the Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh, and poetry by Shel Silverstein. I noticed that few of our books depict Asian, African, or South American people, environments, or cultures. It’s as if we’ve been reading in an American or British cul-de-sac, too comfortable in our familiar neighborhood to notice we haven’t ventured out.
I wondered how our bookshelf became so narrow. I don’t want my kids to read in one corner of the world when it’s my responsibility as a parent to encourage them to leap across borders.
It’s not just our reading that has become insular. It’s also our praying. Our prayers have drifted local rather than expanding global. We’re forgetting to lift up the peoples of the world and to pray for God’s blessing to fall on them, for his salvation to reach them, whether they live in Poland, Vietnam, Sudan, or Uzbekistan…..