There are a few secrets to the way I parent – a few moments in time each week or month when I think – wow, I should really tell other parents about this. THIS is a game changer.
Such is the case with audio books. Today we went to the mountains. A beautiful drive but 1.5 hours each way and with six of us crammed into our little Mazda 5, quarters are tight and tempers can get tighter. I immediately veto the idea of everyone plugging into a phone, ipod or ipad; the scenery is too gorgeous and the family time too precious. Instead, I use my phone app to plug in my most recent find from Audible, an online book club that offers one book a month for a $15 fee.
When using Audible, I let my credits collect and cash in when there is an especially good deal (two books for 1 credit) or when kids are unexpectedly home sick or we take a long car trip. We have had some incredible family listening experiences this way. “I am Malala” took us on the journey of a life time through the history of Pakistan and the Swat valley through the eyes of Malala Yousafzai, the courageous schoolgirl shot for the bold stand of getting an education. “Schooling while being a woman”, we call it, jokingly, but we soon learn it is no joke. We learn about the beauty of this Middle Eastern country we know only as a war zone and source of oppression and we gain new understanding of the depth that the Taliban is willing to stoop to. Malala opens our eyes and our hearts, educating and enlightening us. My children gain a hero as they listen to words softly, yet strongly, spoken in a beautiful Pakistani accent. We are all enthralled.
Today’s magic was the teen version of “Unbroken,” the absolutely heroic saga of a distance runner and POW survivor that was recently made into a major motion picture. Guys this boy crawled out a second story window naked while recovering from pneumonia at TWO and was chased by the police and recovered. He started smoking at five, drinking at eight, and serious thievery shortly afterwards. In the end his tenacity and perseverance and the incredible energy and passion he brought to his life changes the history of our nation and so many individuals.
So . . . audio books. Do It. Let the histories and imaginations of great writers, known and unknown, current and past, shape you and your children. Be changed, stirred, unified as a family. Be educated. Just listen. This parenting tip brought to you by a perfectly imperfect parent – me.