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May 04, 2010

The Ties That Bind

When my boys were small, the spousal unit and I were stationed very far from home: Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, California. Both our parents remained in the DC area.

Back then, long distance was very expensive and we couldn't afford to call home often, but we fit it into the budget whenever we could and in the meantime, I showed my sons pictures of them with their grandparents so they wouldn't forget them in between visits. Now that they're grown, I'm pleased to report that both my sons have remained close to their grandparents. They are good about staying in touch and what's even better is that their wives have made the effort too. Because it is a bit of an effort to keep in touch in these days of two career couples and 24/7 electronic entertainment. If you don't fit family time into your schedule, it doesn't happen.

Among all the family pictures we've accumulated over the years by far my favorites are the ones of various family members reading to my little boys. Normally that's something that would only happen during a live visit, but here's a way you can use modern technology to keep in touch with absent loved ones:

I read to my kids a lot. Even now, when the oldest child at home is 12, we do a lot of out loud reading. It's a habit that has stuck with us since the eldest (18 years ago! *GASP*) was born.

So a new company I was recently introduced to, Redeo, really struck a chord with me. As a military family, we've had our share (and the share of three civilians) of time where Dad is apart from the family. We've utilized all the regular things - email, chat, skype, google-talk... But Readeo allows something very unique - a chance for a Mom, Dad, or Grandparent physically separated from a child to read to their child online. Readeo's BookChat seems made for military families - the book is on the both computer screens and the parent or grandparent can interact with the child just as if they were in the same room. Distance does not stop the bed-time routine!

I can't think of a better way to encourage both a love for reading and a strong sense of family. Do check it out.

Posted by Cassandra at May 4, 2010 07:08 AM

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My mother had me reading before kindergarten...which I started at age 4.

Reading is good; I've learnt a lot thataway...

Posted by: camojack at May 5, 2010 03:56 AM

Interesting product..thanks for the link.

According to VentureBeat, this company was started with $350K in seed capital. Provisions in the "financial reform" bill, if enacted, would make it considerably more difficult to raise funding for this kind of startup.

Posted by: david foster at May 5, 2010 07:00 AM

I'd always read for enjoyment, and I read to my daughter from an early age in hopes of passing that on. Back in 1993, when my wife divorced me and moved to California, I didn't want that to stop, and I didn't want my then-five-year-old daughter to forget me.

I started checking children's books out of the library and reading them into a microphone, recording them onto cassettes. Every couple of weeks, I'd send a new cassette to her.

She told me not long ago that she still has them.

Posted by: wheels at May 10, 2010 12:36 AM

What a wonderful gift!

Posted by: Cassandra at May 10, 2010 07:10 AM