Note to my readers: Many of you know that my daughter (Dr. Samantha Nix) has sent me several questions for me to answer for her, her siblings and my grandchildren. This is just one more of those questions that I felt deserved to be published here.
Your question this week is an interesting one about my favorite children’s story.
To answer your question in brief … I don’t really have any favorite children’s stories. I don’t recall a time my parents really set down and read me any children’s stories. Nor, did they really encourage me to read any stories while I was in elementary or high school. Oh, they may have mentioned it a time or two when I was stuck inside on rainy days, but they certainly did not encourage it. They’d rather have me help in cleaning the house, I guess. They most certainly did encourage me to read (text books) while in both levels of school – Just not story books.
In addition, as a kid growing up, I was always “too busy” to read. I never minded listening to other’s read aloud or tell me stories they made up – but I was certainly not going to spend my “valuable time” reading when I could be outside playing! Most of my younger life I also spent a lot of time in the house practicing my trumpet. I played in several bands while growing up (school bands and the Chicago Boy’s Club Concert and Marching band) so between play and practice – there was really very little time for reading. However, I did find out later in life just how important reading is and encouraged all my kids to read. You and Linda both love to read (as does your grandma) … but the boys … well they were more like me, I guess.
Childhood Stories …
If there was one story, I heard a lot while growing up, I’d have to say it was The Christmas Story found in the books of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament (Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-7). My dad, for years (both before my military days and after) actually until his death, would require – no demand – that we all listen to him read about the birth of Jesus Christ before we were allowed to open any of our Christmas Presents on Christmas Eve.
Now my Dad was not a reader by any stretch of the imagination (especially in his younger years) as I was growing up. He did start reading more in his later years, however. But when it came to Christmas – he read the story of the birth of Christ so often that I think he could quote it all from memory. If I remember one thing from all of this (actually two) the bible never mentioned that Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem. We assume she did because, after all, she was pregnant and she certainly did not take a taxi. Nor was there ever mention of 3 wisemen. There were three gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) but not necessarily 3 wisemen. It was Magi (short for Magician commonly referred to in those days as wisemen) that came from the east. Incidentally, these three gifts were standard gifts to honor a king or deity in the ancient world: gold as a precious metal, frankincense as perfume or incense, and myrrh as anointing oil. Dad used to tell us Gold was for the King, Frankincense was for the Priest, and Myrrh was for the one that was going to die (an oil used for embalming in those days). So, Jesus was the King of the Jews, the Priest to all mankind and the one appointed by God to die for mankind’s sins.
Dad would live his life teaching his children the way of the bible and would tell us many stories from the bible such as Daniel in the Lyon’s Den, Noah’s Ark, Abraham and Sara, The Easter Story, The Battle of Jericho, the Parting of the Red Sea, The Exodus and about the 40 years the people of Israel walked in the deserts looking for the “promised land” and many, many more. I wouldn’t say any of these were favorite “Children’s Stories” of mine … but they are the stories I remember most from my childhood and stories I grew up with.
Stories of my Teens and Adulthood …
As I began to grow in my later teen years, military and into young and older adulthood I got more involved with some of the “self-help Guru’s” of our time. People like Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Napoleon Hill, Stephen Covey and the like. Some of the books that mean the most to me and that I think helped me in my career, my life and my family life were as follows:
- Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
- The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason
- The One Minute Manger – Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
- Mastery – George Leonard
I still have these books and refer to them from time to time even though I am over 70 years of age now and no longer need to read for work.
I am sorry Samantha that you do not see books here like Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Pigs, Snow White and the like – but I just never had time or got into books like that. Some say I was born 90 years old and I hope that I live to be 90 years old (or older).
Love you Always, Dad