Yesterday at the gas station I look to see a small farm truck parked a few pumps away. An older man with a cowboy hat was filling some gas cans in the back of the pickup. A feeling of gratitude sparked in me as I recognized him as my 3rd grade teacher. I walked over to him as my vehicle was filling up, and he recognized me after almost 25 years. “I’ve been reading The Great Brain to my kids” I proudly said to him. He smiled and we shared a brief conversation, and I hope he felt the gratitude I have for him having read to us rowdy 3rd graders. The Great Brain books by John D Fitzgerald were about a boy who grew up in a fictitious town near Cedar City, UT around 1896. The older brother, Tom, is known as “The Great Brain” and he uses his brain and his “money loving heart” to swindle almost anyone he can, but mostly his own little brother. Despite the series of stories of a possible crook in the making, Tom, often uses his brain to help others. The books always teach a lesson, and give you a few good laughs along the way.
So, last night, I read to my 3 girls in one of The Great Brain books that we picked up at the local library. We read how Tom used his brain to help an uneducated and untamed 12 year old tomboy of a girl named Dotty to learn to read, write, and get along with the other kids. Dotty’s mother died when she was young, and her father (like many of us men) had a hard time communicating with Dotty in a way that matched his love for her.[images style="2" image="http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jimmyandshelly.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2015%2F05%2Fphoto.jpg" width="541" caption="I%20love%20Mercer%20Mayer's%20illustrations!" align="center" top_margin="0" full_width="Y"]
Then came the part when Dotty receives a gift from her father. It represented a significant sacrifice for a man down on his luck and even lower on his confidence. More so, it represented the love that he always had for his daughter, and somehow until then, wasn’t able to clearly share it. I lost it. My girls asked why I was crying, and I just told them that I understood what it means for a Dad to love his little girls. Then they all tackled me and smothered me in hugs and kisses.
What a blessing it is to be entrusted to raise these precious angels from heaven! No matter the level of confidence. No matter our financial, social, or physical resources, we make all difference by loving them as best as we can.
So, if you’re reading to your kids already, consider The Great Brain in the line-up, and if you’re not reading to them, now is always a great time to start.
Jimmy Coray is the founder of Every Mountaintop, an addiction recovery support program that helps individuals and families overcome the limiting beliefs and behaviors that are keeping them from blissful recovery. Jimmy has felt the devastating effects of addiction in his own life, and is driven to reach out to strengthen and support others by connecting them with the most effective resources for success. Jimmy is also the founder of 26 Peaks in 26 Weeks, a weekly hiking club that has hiked the tallest peaks in the Wasatch Mountains as a way of getting out of the world where the air and your mind are clear. Jimmy shares his tips and thoughts on positive recovery on his youtube channel www.youtube.com/everymountaintop.