When I was a member of the San Dimas UCC I had a few really good conversations with the pastor's husband who was a physics professor at one of the Claremont colleges. At one point I learned that he had a few siblings and when he mentioned what their professions were, I was super-impressed. I believe one was a doctor, another was a history professor at another university and the third worked at JPL. I asked him, "So tell me, what did your parents do to get all of you to do so well academically?" He said that the best thing his parents ever did was bring something interesting to read to the dinner table every evening. Maybe it was a poem, or an article from the news, or something from a biblical writer. But every evening they had something to share and they'd often discuss it. As the kids grew up, they brought their own interesting reading to the table to share and there was always a lot to discuss and debate.
Seeing this man, who was not only smart, but first and foremost a genuinely good kind person I took note of his words and, like that Oprah episode about the cooking I wrote about, I've had this bit of advice tucked away in my heart for several years.
I'm not sure when it started exactly, but at some point during the school year, I decided to read one story from 100 Classic Stories each evening at dinner. Or even breakfast if we were all there at the same time. On Sunday we were late for church and ended up not going at all, and for the first time I cracked open our NIV Study Bible and started reading to the kids straight from John.
I can tell there are good things happening here for all the kids, and even for me. It's only the beginning of something that I hope continues for many many years.