Over the last couple of weeks, I have had the wonderful opportunity to catch up again with some dear friends, with whom I had lost touch many years ago. We met up with great excitement and I also had the thoughts at the back of my mind about how much we may have changed during that time. Would we still recognise each other, let alone get along?
Good friends are like the love of reading; you may develop the relationship early on in your life and then, sometimes, life can take over and you may not spend time together as you would like. But the love is still there, totally forgiving, sitting in the background waiting until you are ready to make contact again. Reading is like the unconditional love of a good friend; not judging you, but rather understanding and waiting patiently for your return. And then, when you do return, the journey together continues as if you had never been apart, picking up where you left off and, within a page, you are totally immersed back into the world of imagination.
It is this love of reading which I believe is important to encourage children to develop as early as possible. For them to develop the relationship with books, to have the security of knowing that whatever happens in life, that love is there beside them, is so important for their development and future. No matter how long they are apart, they can pick back up where they left off. It is a constant that stays with them all their lives; the friend that is always there, no matter what.
So how did the reunions with my friends go? Amazing, just like picking up a favourite book, they are still the dear people that I used to know and now I have the privilege to call my friends once more.