As a grandfather who has most of his grandkids living hours away, I’m grateful to be alive during an era when we can still nurture close relationships despite geographic separation.
There are many wonderful ways to keep in touch across the miles. And, a new program adds a wonderful touch to the time proven joy of reading to our children. It’s called Kindoma, and more about it momentarily.
It’s a little known secret that there are few—very few—activities children love more than reading with a loved one. It’s not just about the book, it’s also about relationships and bonding.
C.S. Lewis had an interesting relationship with children. As a bachelor academic, he was not around them all that much. And when he wrote The Abolition of Man in 1943—before becoming a step-father—Lewis confessed “I myself do not enjoy the society of small children . . . I recognize this as a defect in myself—just as a man may have to recognize that he is tone deaf or colour blind.”
Eight years earlier, at the modest age of thirty-seven, he wrote to a good friend, “I theoretically hold that one ought to like children, but am shy with them in practice.” Lewis isn’t alone in possessing this unfortunate trait, which from my observation [political incorrectness alert] is more common among men than women. Of course, in our increasingly equalitarian culture it does seem that character flaw is becoming a bit more gender-balanced.
Then there is the fact that many of us who dearly love our young progeny, enjoy the children of our friends, and hold genuine compassion for young ones suffering in any variety of miserable conditions . . . do not particularly seek out the company of children. From my personal perspective, I feel like I “expend” all of my (admittedly finite) kid-patience with my own kin and the offspring of my friends. I don’t have a surplus left after spending a significant amount of time with the (precious) little ones.
And, like Lewis, “I recognize this as a defect in myself.”
At the same time as I admire teachers who can pour themselves into little ones, and I am absolutely dumbfounded by people who prefer working with young teenagers, I recognize that the world works well when some of us are better equipped to work with adults also . . . so the entire spectrum of learners is served.
Recognizing our own prejudices is a prerequisite to suppressing or evicting them. Lewis, of course, was extremely concerned about children and their upbringing, particularly their education.
Returning to the subject of how to nurture relationships with children through the intercontinental reading of books, technology has made the miraculous possible.
Kindoma is novel in the sense that it allows you to read the book together (either the child or the adult can be the actual “reader”) while you actually turn the pages of the etext together! So you get the genuine experience of reading together.
The creator of the program holds a PhD in Computer Science. So he’s not merely an idea guy (like me) who comes up with a slew of amazing concepts but doesn’t have the scientific skill to make them reality.
The program is currently available for ipod and ipad. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before it is ported to other operating systems. Since I still use “regular” desk and lap-top computers, I haven’t experimented with it myself. The app itself is free. I’m unsure about their revenue stream, whether it will come from ads, or purchase of access to a specific library, but it’s definitely worth checking out.
The brief link below offers an introduction to the tool. I hope that you will use it if applicable to your situation, and pass it on to others you know who might benefit from it. (In the meantime, I’m thinking about approaching my wife about us making that ipad purchase I’ve been pondering.)