Childhood memories are a powerful thing. Looking back at my own childhood I have fond memories from a young age of being taken to work with my father. At the time his weekend hobby/job (what we’d now call his side hustle) was being a Guide Friday City Sightseeing open-top tour bus driver. Driven round the same one-hour route over and over again, I would lose myself in a book, the back seat of a bus my book nook.
Twenty years on, I have a vivid image of a bookshop in Torquay – where we would go on our annual caravan holiday – and the patience my dad displayed whilst I spent ages looking over the rows upon rows of titles. It was the first time I can truly remember not knowing which book to choose and realising I wanted them all. Thanks to an understanding father, I came away from that bookshop with various works by Enid Blyton, Judy Blume, Ann M. Martin – I was in paradise. Later that evening they were all piled up on the bedside cabinet in the caravan – the first time I had a ‘to be read’ pile.
I’m sure at times my dad was unthankful for how much I read. I could read his wages as quick as he was earning them. In one of my first independent shopping trips, I had ten minutes to jump off Dad’s bus, dive into a bookshop, run to the children’s section for my next read, before paying and getting back to the next bus stop so as to hop back on-board. In the meantime, he’d continued a top deck full of tourists round the block.
Books are, of course, not the only way to read. Walking through museums, my dad would always pause to read the displays. As a child I found this monotonous until I discovered I could read the displays too – a lightbulb moment.
Fathers are important role models when it comes to reading. Seeing my father read encouraged me to do so myself, be it a newspaper, magazine, book, leaflet or instruction manual.
So take time on Father’s Day is to celebrate and share a good book or two with your youngsters – and create fond memories.
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