Friday, March 27, 2009

Moral Dirt Clods

This Post over at Crooked Timber, which is about directing your kids' reading, whether you should or can direct your kids' reading, how you get your kids to read, etc, is an interesting one.

We never much directed the Kid's reading -- well, we read, all the time, non-stop, of course: mr. delagar and I are generally reading 2-5 books apiece at any given time (I'm reading Joe Haldeman's Worlds Apart, Kit Whitfield's new book, In Deep Waters, the biography of FDR, A Traitor to his Class, and a book by Anthony Burgess right now, called English Literature, which I am mainly reading for it's amusement value); and until she learned to read herself we read to her the same way.  Her bed, right now, is piled with books.

Lately, though, I have been reading the English Bible to her.

This is because one of her Xtian classmates had been urging her to read it, in class: when the Kid would browse the shelves of their school library, the little Xtian would say, "Why don't you read the Bible?  It's a Good Book!"  (Doing her special duty to convert the Jew, I expect.)

The Kid complained about this, at home.  I said she should take the other kid's advice, the Bible being the foundation of all Western Literature.  "Besides," I added.  "You're going to love what's in there."

So we're reading it, five or six or ten chapters a night, and boy does she.

"Now what now?" she says, when we hit some appalling bit.  "He did what?  Read that again."

She calls these moral dirt clods, and really, really wants to fling them at her classmate; but is nobly restraining herself, since she is a polite and civil child.

"Do you think Tillie knows this is in here?" she asked, about the bit where Lot offers to give up his virgin daughters to be raped by the mob.  "She says she's read the Bible."

"Most Christians," I said, "when they say they've read the Bible, mean they've read bits of it, given to them in church by their preachers.  Most of them have no idea what is in here."

She looked thoughtful, and interested.

"Anyway," I said.  "It's her business.  Leave her alone about it."

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