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Family Valued

Read to Your Bunny

Rosemary Wells' Read to Your Bunny (Scholastic, 1997) is a delightful invitation to the world of reading. The most important thing in the first year of life, when a child learns to love, trust, speak, and listen, is the growth of the mind and spirit.

            Wells' lyrical text extols the message that reading together 20 minutes a day is the most important gift you can give your child. In just those few moments, in a quiet, restful place, you can share words that will help shape a life.

            Some may view this picture book as more of a primer for new parents than a cozy read for infants and toddlers. But Wells manages to steer clear of didacticism through heartwarming illustrations, making this inspired volume one that will be embraced by both parent and child. Using a multicolored cast of bunnies, the illustrations reinforce the feeling of loving closeness that shared reading can create.

            In April, organizations throughout Monroe County will celebrate the Month of the Young Child. We owe it to ourselves to embrace Wells' message to: "Read to your bunny often / It's twenty minutes of fun / It's twenty minutes of moonlight / And twenty minutes of sun / Twenty old-favorite minutes / Twenty minutes brand new / Read to your bunny often / And your bunny will read to you."

--- Carolyn Schuler

This week for families:

Barnes & Noble Greece Storytimes Every Wed, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., every Fri 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. 330 Greece Ridge Center Dr, 227-4020

Barnes & Noble Pittsford Storytimes Every Wed 9:30 and 11 a.m., every Fri 7 p.m. | 3349 Monroe Ave. 586-6020

Brighton Memorial Library Storytimes Every Mon 10:30 a.m., toddlers; every Mon 11:30 a.m., preschoolers; every Tues 7 p.m., all ages; every Wed 3:30 p.m., ages 5-7; Every Thurs 7 p.m., families; Every Fri 10:30 a.m., ages 2-4. | 2300 Elmwood Ave, 784-5300

Falling UpFri, Apr 2. Dramatic production, Shel Silverstein's poetry, Stardust Ballroom, Edgerton Community Center, 41 Backus St, 7 p.m. Tix: $2. 428-6769

Fly Fishing Demonstration Sat, April 3. For ages 10-16, Fish Hatchery at Powder Mills Park, 1820 East Ave, 9 a.m. Free. 586-1670

Healthy Kids Day Sat, Apr 3. Fitness and nutrition activities, Carlson Metrocenter YMCA, 444 E Main St, 12-4 p.m. Free. 546-5500

Henrietta Public Library Family pajama storytime,Mon, Apr 5, ages 2-8, 7-7:30 p.m. 455 Calkins Rd. 359-7093

Mister Rodgers' Neighborhood Event Sat, Apr 3. Events with Mr. McFeely and Clifford the Dog. | "You Are Special," Central Library, 115 South Ave, 10:30 a.m. | "Building Neighborhoods Together," Wheatley Community Library, 33 Dr. Samuel McCree Way, 1 p.m. | "A World of Make-Believe," Lincoln Library, 851 Joseph Ave, 3 p.m. | 428-8301

a.m.-4:30 p.m. Free. 458-4100

Phillis Wheatley Community Library Storytimes Every Thurs. For preschoolers, 33 Dr. Samuel McCree Way, 10:30 a.m. 428-8212

Pre-Kindergarten Enrollment Open Houses Tues, Apr 6. For parents and guardians of pre-K children, various Family Resource Center locations, 9:30 Seneca Park Zoo Island Adventure, Fri, Apr 2, for ages 3 and 4, 10:15 a.m. Tix: $18. |Tons of Tails, Mon-Tues, Apr 5-6, for ages 4-6, Mon 9:30 a.m., Tues 1 p.m. Tix: $22. | Book and Beast, Wed, Apr 7, 11 a.m. Free with admission. | Family Fun Night, Wed, Apr 7, 6-8 p.m. Tix: $35/family. | 2222 St. Paul St. Tix: $5. 467-9453

Strong Museum Spring Break Week, Mon-Fri, Apr 5-9 and 12-16, entertainment, crafts, activities, in conjunction with Berenstein Bears and Where the Wild Things Are exhibits, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | One Manhattan Square, 263-2700, www.strongmuseum.org.

Information on museum exhibits can be found in the calendar's Museum section.

Choosing faith

My young daughter is practicing her clarinet, and I rejoice in each toot and squeak. She has heard everything from Gary the Happy Pirate to Stravinsky, but only now is she experiencing the difficult conversion from curious listener to developing practitioner. She has begun to encounter music more intimately, and each vital texture and breathtaking nuance leaves an impression. Her horizons expand before my eyes.

            This is an apt analogy for a faith-filled life. Like music, faith has vocabularies, methods, and deeper realities of its own. Every major world religion includes an invitation to disciplined practice. Sadly, many of us choose instead to be mere curious listeners, dabbling in the shallows of intellectual investigation rather than diving into the depths of Godly experience. We pass this same stance on to our children and, within a generation, vital life textures and breathtaking nuance are lost.

            A Jewish woman and her Protestant husband once told me they had decided to raise their son as neither Jew nor Christian. They reasoned this would prevent a messy conflict until he was ready to discern for himself what faith to embrace. But what can you discern when deprived of communal wisdom and personal experience? How can the wholesale avoidance of messy conflict possibly prepare a child for real life and true faith?

            Not choosing a faith for family practice creates faithless children. It is perhaps the most crippling choice of all.

--- Rev. Corey Keyes