In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 8, 2005 /27 Adar I, 5765

Mom leads — and reads — by example

By Marybeth Hicks

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | School librarians from coast to coast recently observed Read Across America Day, a celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday sponsored by the National Education Association and designed to get children excited about reading. For the rest of March, teachers will promote reading with adventure themes, author visits and even reading contests in which students will earn pizza and candy for diving into the pages of good books.

It's not as easy to get a child to read as it is to get him to eat pizza — especially with Harry Potter movies out on DVD. I know. I have a son.

At the risk of making an unfair, sweeping and sexist generalization, let me just say it's not easy getting a boy to read a book at all. In my household, the girls are avid readers who need prompting only to put down their books and turn off the lights in order to get enough sleep on a school night.

On the other hand, putting a book in my son's hands at night is a surefire method to get him to nod off, drool running down his otherwise peaceful face, while his eyeballs move furiously under their lids. No doubt his REM dreams play out at video-game speeds.

Early in our parenting, my husband and I decided reading was a major priority. "Readers are leaders," we agreed. Over the years, we invested in good children's literature — hundreds of books — creating a home library to be used by all four children. Every evening, just as the experts suggested, we read to them until they were old enough to read to us.

Then, I took a ride down the slippery slope of parental permissiveness. Responding to my son's cries of boredom when carted to his sister's dance classes, I caved on my commitment to avoid electronic pacifiers. I purchased a Game Boy.

It was just for travel, I reasoned — a special toy to be used only on long car rides or other times when it seemed unfair that he was forced to tag along on an activity for his siblings. It wouldn't take the place of books, of course; it would be an occasional diversion to pass the time.

That just goes to prove that the best laid parenting plans often end in the electronics aisle. The Game Boy led to a PlayStation system, which led to a discount membership at the game store. I don't need to ask where I went wrong. I already know.

It's not that we don't frequent the library — it's that our trips to the library always include an argument with my son about whether he will spend his time there looking at books or playing a game on the library's computers. It doesn't matter that the games are educational — they're not books. The electronic monster lurks at every turn.

I have tried a host of tactics to get my son interested in reading. Two Christmases ago, he received the entire "Pendragon" series by DJ MacHale — adventures about a boy that seemed to fit his age and interests. He's nearly finished — not with the series, just the second book. At this rate, he'll be reading "Pendragon" for a college thesis.

Limiting his time for electronics is an obvious solution. A few months ago, out of frustration at seeing the Game Boy attached to his hands like an appendage, I took it from him and hid it in my closet. Or is it in the dresser? Only time will tell.

Every so often, I initiate a "time trade" system, in which pages of a book buy electronic playtime. This system is flawed because it requires me to monitor time accumulated and time remaining. (I balk at parenting schemes that create more work for parents than they do for children.)

The other problem with this system is that I'm not sure he's actually absorbing what's in the book. The entire time he's reading, he updates me simply on the number of pages he has completed. "Mom, I've read four pages," I'll hear from the next room.

"That's great, honey," I reply. "What's happening in the story?"

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"I'm not sure, but I just read another page," he says.

Encouraging my son to read is an example of an age-old quandary. You could call it, "You can lead a boy to wisdom, but you can't make him read 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.'" It raises the question: Why would a boy want to play a video game when he could be transported into a book instead?

I can't imagine how happy I would be if someone forced me to sit down to read. Then again, this comes from a woman whose literary life is limited lately to the page or two I can complete at the end of the day before my eyelids slam shut like the doors of a bank vault. Rather than devour a current best seller, I'm more likely to be working on a chapter of "Ramona the Pest" (one of my favorite Beverly Cleary classics) or some other book I'm reciting to my 7-year-old.

So this year, March is reading month for both my son and me. Not only will he earn pizza at school, but he and I also are going to discover what it's like to be awake with books in hand. I'm going to lead by example — read by example — and maybe this year, he'll realize that the people who make those video games get all their ideas from the pages of books.

Of course, because most of March is also Lent, it helps that he gave up electronic games until Easter.

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of 17 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.

Mom may be the happiest camper
What the dog knows about parenting
TSubbing turns mom into fly on the wall
The hard work of bringing up geeks
What if teenagers made the rules?
Sage advice to a mom about Instant Messaging

© 2005, Marybeth Hicks