For Zach it was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and his Children’s Bible (particularly Daniel and the Lion’s Den and Balaam’s Donkey).
Elizabeth’s favorites were Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever and Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter books.
Olivia never tired of A House is a House for Me and Mother Goose Rhymes—especially “Pussycat, Pussycat…” because I always exchanged the word ‘pussycat’ for Olivia.
Reading Hattie and the Fox was a multiple-times-a-day event for Emma, along with any and all of the Berenstein Bears books.
The repetition of reading the same books over and over and over and over and (take a deep breath) over again was not always my favorite thing to do, but I did it because it made them happy and I wanted my kids to be happy. But more than that, the repetition of hearing their favorite stories multiple times a day gave them a sense of security and belonging.
That’s what repetition does, you know. It gives children a sense of belonging and assurance that things are just as they should be. And that is why, as a parent, you need to make sure you consistently and repeatedly:
Tell your children you love them-- every single day.
Make sure your actions are affirmations of what you say –kids are smart. They know the difference between empty words and words giving voice to acts of love.
Keep the promises you make – if you can’t keep them don’t make them.
Pick them up on time –be where you say you will be when you say you will be there. Children are frightened and humiliated when you are late or miss something altogether.
Practice what you preach –Again, kids are better at spotting a phony than they are at addition or subtraction. They need to see you consistently and repeatedly being the person you tell them to be.
I’ve not been a perfect parent, but I’ve been consistent and repetitive in loving, protecting, nurturing, teaching and caring for my children. I hope and pray you will do the same.
PS I can still quote most of these books by heart and I wouldn’t have it any other way.