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Photo taken by Dustin Groh

Photo taken by Dustin Groh

Derek, how did you know that?


That he just wrote Pooh and not Winnie the Pooh.

I saw that it began with a P…

It was the day my son became a reader. And we told him such. He disagreed with us and said that he wasn’t. But the three of us knew better. We were in Disney World and our days were full of much excitement. He and my daughter spent much of their time getting characters’ autographs and Winnie-the-Pooh was one of their favorites.

This all happened two weeks ago. My son is four-years old and at this point can read only a few words. And by few, I mean maybe three or four. But I know what is about to happen next. Something magical.

I know because I have seen it happen with my daughter, who is now ten. She is a voracious reader. The type of reader that can finish a chapter book in a day. That is, if I let her.

You see a few weeks ago I was mean. It was getting late and I told my daughter that it was time to go to bed. That she could finish the book she was reading in the morning. She wasn’t happy with me, but she obliged. Since we didn’t have school the next day, we let her sleep in our room.

The next morning my daughter was up and out of bed before I was. How do I know? Because I was lying right next to her. And the second her eyes opened, she jumped out of bed and scampered down the steps so fast I was actually worried for her safety. She couldn’t wait another second to finish the book. And she did within minutes.


Now I am wondering if my son will acquire the same passion for reading that his sister has. My guess is that he will, simply because he has her for a big sister. She is an amazing little girl who has taught him much in just four short years. The photo above was taken just last week. Notice how she is right there by his side. Helping him with his writing by holding the paper still. He is just learning how to form letters and he’s really not quite sure how to hold a pencil. But I’m confident he will. I’m confident, because of her. She’ll teach inspire him.

Just recently, my daughter had to write a poem and read it in front of her class. She chose to write about my dad, who she has heard much about, but passed away many years before she was born. I was blown away by what she wrote and I was blown away that she had the courage to read it in front of her class.

The man who turned blues into joy. The man who turned the world upside down.

The man who made memories. The man who’s voice could heal someone’s pain.

The man who saved lives yet he did not know it. The man whose heart was bigger than a star.

The man who is up there looking down on us. The man who I feel even when he is not here.

The man whom I miss but I hate to admit it. The man who I see when heartbreak happens.

The man who I never met but love him so. Even though I have not met him I feel like I have through pictures and dreams.

My son is in very good hands. He could not ask for a better sister. Of course, they argue and fuss as siblings do. But when they are together and they are on. It is a sight to behold. I feel confident that she is going to take good care of him. But… My son will only be in eighth grade when my daughter goes off to college. Then what?

What will my wife and I do then? We better learn as much as we can over the next eight years so that we are prepared. Because while I am sure that there is much we can teach him, he is going to miss his sister leading the way for him. Taking those first steps with him.

I think far too often we forget what it was like to have been a child. It’s been such a long a long time since we’ve been one ourselves. That is why we must watch carefully and learn from the experts. My wife and I are lucky that we have one right under our roof. I’m going to start taking notes.

By the way, last night while I was working on this piece, my daughter was writing a story of her own. At about 11:30 I told her that I was exhausted and was heading up. When I told her I was going to bed she sighed. She wanted to keep writing.

And I let her.

I am a work in progress.

Grown ups never understood anything by themselves. And it is rather tedious to have to explain things to them time and again.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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