Appreciate mothers, the first teachers, every day
Years ago in an old Ben Franklin’s Almanac of practical advice, a quote from American wit Strickland Gillilan’s poem, “The Reading Mother,” jumped off the page. Its sentiment has been a constant reminder of childhood pleasures that came from reading books and the funnies in the Sunday newspaper, many times on my mother or father’s lap.
The quote went, “You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be—I had a mother who read to me.”
That poem and others also were the inspiration for “Catch Someone Reading PN” and for the promotion, “Let your kids catch you reading. And let them know it’s for pleasure,” that appear in each printed issue of Positively Naperville.
Enjoy the poem in its entirety in honor of reading mothers (and dads) everywhere.
The Reading Mother
I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea.
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth;
“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.
I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a Mother who read to me.
—Strickland Gillilan (1869–1954)
It’s no secret, mothers come in all shapes, sizes and mothering styles. We also note that some of the best mother figures are not related at all to the individuals they encourage and support. And in our view, caring, connected and devoted mothers, not necessarily perfect, deserve to be celebrated and appreciated every day. Communication is key. Thanks for reading.