Start Them Young

Next to childbirth, probably the hardest thing to do is to organize a family reunion. It’s like birthing a million ideas to keep 160 people of all life stages occupied and delighted.

But it can be done.

In our last family reunion, I was chairman. My first act was to appoint my youngest brother in my place, and catapulted myself to chairman emeritus. Another grace thrown down my lap was the 26 brilliant minds in my branch of the family: in-laws, nieces, nephews, brothers, and only sister. I didn’t have to lift a finger.

(Ooops, I nagged a little.)

I am in awe of the young ones who conceived activities and labored to make them happen.One was: Corners.

There was a corner for oldies: those who couldn’t join active events anymore. Old albums, scrapbooks, newsletters, souvenirs, and looped videos kept the 50s and above quietly occupied.

There was a corner for clowning—the photo booth.

There was a corner for street food, where people lined up to have their fill of squid balls, fish balls, etc.

There was an outdoor corner for varied sports; and an indoor corner for varied games.

There was a corner for prizes, with drop boxes specifying the kind of prize one wanted to win.

And—this one’s my favorite—there was a corner for kiddies. Toys galore, table activities, games, play doughs, art contests, and books (Hiyas-published storybooks). I loved this corner because I saw kids either reading alone, reading to each other, or being read to by an adult.

All of 16 years now, I have been an advocate for reading. In my encounters with my college students, I am disheartened by the fact that, because of technology and the internet, not many read anymore.

My hope for this tragic trend to be reversed are the little ones. If adults could interest them in books even before they could read, then I know they will grow up to be readers.

To support this hope, we decided to give all the kids ages six and below free books during the reunion’s closing ceremonies. As the kids’ names were called, their parents carried or led them to the stage to get their books.
It was an encouraging sight: little ones, their face aglow, excited to get a copy of a book!

Who said authors are not paid enough? This photo fills my cup to overflowing. 

No comments: