A man in a suit reading a book in his office with drawings from his kids on the wall.

The UnSelfish Act of Reading

I feel guilty when I read. My “dad-sense” kicks in, whispering that I should spend more time with my kids. Part of me thinks that one day, when everyone grows up, the guilty feelings will vanish and I’ll be able to sit in my reading chair without remorse.

But I know that’s not true.

My kids get plenty of my time, and I’m a good husband. The truth is that taking time for myself never feels good. I’m not sure why I’m grafted that way, but reading exists in the “guilty pleasures” category of my life. The odd thing is that my wife and kids want me to take time for myself – they support my bookish insanity.

All I know is that when I read, I’m lighter. I’m more patient, hardworking, and focused. When I skip my reading hour, there’s an invisible knot in my shoulders. If you’ve ever read the Charlie Brown comics, you might remember Pig-pen, the kid with a cloud of dirt clinging to him. When I skip reading out of guilt, I feel like Pig-pen.

Next time I sit down to read and that guilty feeling shows up, I’m going to read this post and remember that I deserve some quiet time, that I’m a good father, and that life is better when I’ve read a book.

Until tomorrow, read slowly – take notes – apply the ideas.


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