Advise from the Good Doctor

Okay, I’ll admit it.  Since I have been spending more time at home with my daughter, Lila, I (occasionally) watch Dr. Phil.  There is something about the anorexic, kleptomaniac, sexaholic, shopaholic, drug addicted, somehow dysfunctional guest that I find disturbingly fascinating.  Maybe I am torturing myself with new disorders that I can worry about with my daughter.  I probably should not be watching with my daughter in the room lest she get any ideas at the tender age of one.

So, yesterday on Dr. Phil, the good doctor said that he gave his sons two jobs while they were under his roof.  The first job was to become educated.  The second job was to have fun doing it.

I must confess that I spent some time thinking about the second job.  It was not what I expected out of Dr. Phil.  The more I thought about it the more I liked it.  He did get the job of Dr. Phil after all.  What I want more than anything is for my daughter to be happy.

Lila’s new favorite book at the bookstore is called, “Cats”.  The first time she opened the book, she turned to a page that had a picture of a cat jumping.  Becky (one of the really nice ladies that works at the bookstore) picked her up off the ground and said, “jump!”.  The smile on Lila’s face was priceless.  Now she runs to the book as soon as we walk in the door, turns to the page with the jumping cat, bends her knees and does her best one-year-old jump.

I am not under any illusion that she will get just as excited when she completes her first algebra problem, but I would love to foster the enthusiasm for learning she was obviously born with.  At what point does learning become a chore?

My wonderful mother would take us kids to the local bookstore once a month and we could pick out as many books as we could read in that month.  All of us grew up avid readers and we frequently discuss and share books at family get-togethers.  I don’t know if it was the trips to the bookstore (although I would highly encourage this practice) or the fact that our mother was always reading a book.  When she passed away a few years ago, we all agreed that she had given us a precious gift.  I am lucky to find such pleasure in books.  Not that all books are necessarily educational, but, like watching Dr. Phil, you can always find something useful to walk away with.

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