9. Encourage Pen and Pencil
Writing in the book or on something else helps one digest and remember what he read. In many places the tablet is replacing the book, and I do not know if you can highlight things in a tablet. But if you have a book, as long as it is your own, get a pen and pencil and write in it. Underline, put exclamation marks, see page 47, stars, asterisks, notes. Interact with your book, your magazine, young man, young woman. If it is yours—pen and pencil.
10. Emphasize the Parental Mandate
The parental mandate is not: “You ought to read.” Or : “I strongly encourage you to do some reading.” The parental mandate is: “You shall read. I am your father. I have been given authority by God. This is my house. You, son, you, daughter, shall read.”
Why would we not do this? The two-year-old is not so excited about sitting through another hour-and-a-half long worship service on Sunday. But “you shall come to church.” And over the course of time children begin to see the wisdom of their parents and they enjoy going to church. And to the young people, we have said, “You shall be home at (whatever time—11 p.m.),” and though they may object, they grow up and they say, “That was the wisdom of my parents—that curfew.” The young woman wants to go out and even go to church in that little skirt, and father says, “You may not go to church wearing that.” It is an argument now. But, over time, she realizes she was foolish. She sees the wisdom of her father.
“You shall read.”
Now, do not come to the young person with both hands full, a book in one hand, and a whip in the other, like that of one of Pharaoh’s servants: YOU SHALL READ! Not that kind of “shall.” You come with a book for your son in one hand, and a book for yourself in the other. You read, son, and I also shall read. Then discuss the books. The parental mandate must be given in the right attitude and spirit, surrounded by the right conduct and life, and then God will transform the “I must read” in them, into “I want to read,” and even into “I am privileged to read.”
“But dad, you don’t know how busy I am. I can’t even read all of the books I have to read for college. I don’t have time to read.” Well, we know that is not true because we were all there one day. Nor is it true when the patient responds to the dentist’s, “It doesn’t appear that you have been flossing every day,” with, “I don’t have time to floss every day.” The dentist does not even take the time to say, “You don’t have time to run a piece of string through your teeth for sixty seconds a day? You can do that while staring at your television.” You have time to read. It is a matter of the will. “I am your father, and I love you, and now let’s start prioritizing. For starters, you’ve got to turn that thing off, put it away, unplug it, put it way over there. Now, we’re going to read.” Sunday afternoon, what are you going to do this afternoon? Here is this literature. You shall read.
We parents, in love, need to exercise and enforce the parental mandate, “You shall read.”
By the grace of God in Jesus Christ wherein is the “will” and the “to do” of His good pleasure, and for the glory of Jehovah and His covenant, let us press on now lest a generation arise among us not knowing the Lord nor the works that He has done for Israel. Let us lay this upon the hearts of the young people. Read!
Where do you sit at the table? Where do the young people sit at the table? Where will the next generation sit at the table? This is not a parable. Jesus will not chide you for pressing toward the highest seat at the wedding table as He did the Pharisees. Take your seat in position number one. Devour good books. And let it be the joy and rejoicing of your heart. May God bring the children to sit with you.