This Is The First Step

It’s pretty remarkable. In a time when most women weren’t expected to be educated, let alone allowed to take a career, a young woman named Jane Austen managed to write a series of books that not only became massive bestsellers but are still read and beloved over 200 years later.

How did that happen? It wasn’t just that she was brilliant and talented and creative. It wasn’t simply that she was determined and pushed past the assumptions of her time. And it wasn’t just, as we wrote a while back, that her father was a forward-thinking advocate for her work. No, the roots of her story go back much earlier, to something much simpler that her father did for her and that she did for herself.

As Claire Tomalin writes in her book Jane Austen: A Life, we can trace the beginnings of Jane Austen’s greatness to her father’s library. “Their father’s bookshelves were of primary importance in fostering her talent,” she writes, “given that the first impulse to write stories comes from being entertained and excited by other people’s.” And her father had quite a library, some 500 volumes.

It’s a crime, we’ve said, to raise a kid in a house without books. Our job is to surround our kids with great ideas, great writers, great art. We can’t expect it to turn all of them into groundbreaking creatives, but it will have that effect on some of them. In every case though, it will give them windows into other worlds, it will teach them empathy, it will entertain them and teach them lessons about life and human nature.

And more than just surrounding them with books, we have to demonstrate what being a reader looks like. Not on our phones, not on audiobooks, but good old fashioned reading.

We think this idea—that you have a responsibility to make reading a part of your children’s life—is so important that the month of September in The Daily Dad: 366 Meditations on Parenting, Love, and Raising Great Kids is all about it and titled “Raise A Reader.” It’s 30 days full of stories and lessons in learning, curiosity, and how to raise a reader.

Sign Up to get our FREE email.
One piece of timeless parenting advice, delivered daily.

Sign Up to get our eBook

“20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday”



Recent Posts



We’re going to tackle all the big themes of our time and of all time: Grit. Resilience. Curiosity. Compassion. Character. Unconditional love. Finding purpose. Dealing with stress. Masculinity. Female empowerment. Loss. Stillness. Truthfulness. Initiative. Creativity. Passion. Family. Fun.

Join Daily Dad now and tap into a community of dads all over the world dedicated to becoming the very best dad they can be. you’ll get a daily meditation on the above themes and more.