The book awakened in my soul a longing for Heaven. The dreams of childhood fantasy. A wild desire for my own child to read, love, and appreciate the stories which open another world of thought, living, adventure and understanding. A world where good and evil are clearly seen and dealt with. A world of betrayal and courage. A world which appeals to our innate sense of kindness, duty and chivalry. But most importantly, stories which direct, cultivate and prepare us for life everlasting.
I will never forget the impact At the Back of the North Wind (by George MacDonald), The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis), Lilith (MacDonald), Adventures is Wonderland (Lewis Carroll), The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster), The Princess and the Goblin (MacDonald), A Christmas Carol (Dickens), Just So Stories (Kipling), The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson-Burnett), The Hobbit (Tolkien), Egyptian and Greek myth and others had on me.
Children think in images and as a parent we can supply what those images will be - whether it's the world of television and computer games or books and games which inspire the imagination to cleave to and grow. Not that any film or television will immediately doom your child to a murky swamp and insipid lack of creativity, but alone, I don't believe it can have the same or as good an effect as hearing stories from their parents or reading themselves.
Though I blush to think of them now, I filled much of my childhood by attempting to write my own stories filled with secret vaults and doors, good people and bad people, just and unjust. Often I had a little brother or sister as audience with the promise that they would take their nap if I told them one more story.
In the meantime, I desire never to grow too old for these stories myself and to fill my bookshelf at toddler level with all of them.