Your kids will do all sorts of ridiculous things. They will trip and fall, and yes, you will sometimes laugh. You will tease them about this and that. They’ll make hilarious mistakes. They’ll look back on their own childish ridiculousness with bemusement. Your family will have all sorts of inside jokes. This is fine. This is wonderful.
It’s what binds people together—the ability to bust each other’s balls, to share memories and experiences.
But there is one thing you should not tease your kids about, as the now famous (anonymous quote) goes: “Never make fun of someone if they mispronounce a word. It means they learned it by reading.”
Remember: You are trying to raise a reader. You are trying to introduce them to the dangerous world of ideas. That is going to mean pronouncing things wrong. That’s going to mean confusing the meanings of seemingly obvious things. It’s going to mean being laughably off base about things. No one has ever learned any other way.
So it’s essential that your house and your relationship is a safe place for that to happen. Do not make them feel self-conscious about reading, about tackling topics outside their comfort zone. This is how they grow. This is a tightrope they are walking here—knock them off and they might never want to get back on.
Encourage them. Tease them and have fun about many things. But this? Respect it.
P.S. This was originally sent on April 20, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”