Sunday, August 9, 2009

Her First Book

My daughter wasn't even a year old when I started reading to her. The first book? Alexander Berkman's ABC of Anarchism, a classic from 1929 reprinted by AK Press and obtained through its excellent Friends of AK Press program.

My parents would have been appalled.

My daughter is five now, and I still read to her on a regular basis, though she's nowhere near as interested in reading as I was at her age. She's slowly getting it on her own, though, which I think will improve her interest level. I've got around nine hundred books in my library and let her know when she can read she can read of them she can reach. (With that one exception.)

That first book, though, was important to me. I know none of it stuck, but I wanted a seed to be planted. I wanted to, when she would ask me years later, be able to tell her that her first book was an important one, and why it was important. It's essential reading for anarchists and the politically minded in general. I don't exactly expect her to have the same political values as mine, but I know she won't learn the proper things about anarchism in school, so I wanted to get first dibs on that.

Perhaps in the future, when she's been reading for few years on her own, she'll delve into the first book I read her. Maybe she'll have questions. Maybe she'll dismiss it as leftist garbage. If I can get her to question it, though, then I have done my job. You see, I don't think a parent's goal is to get their kid to think like them. It's to have the child question the parent as to his or her beliefs. That should be what every parent strives for. Anything less is unacceptable ... and in some cases dangerous.

Let's hope this first book set the gears in motion for her to be on the right track. At the very least it's better than Limbaugh.

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