Listen up mothers of young children and those who aspire to be! Here’s some sage advice from, arguably, one of the United States' most successful moms: Rosie Castro. The San Antonio native and mother of U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro and twin brother U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, who is rumored to be on the short list of potential running mates for Hillary Clinton, recently did an interview with the Texas Standard for their “Texas Mothers” series. In it, Castro explained one way she used to trick her sons into reading when they were young.
“One of my favorite memories when my sons were young was always trying to get them to read by tricking them into doing it,” she said. “For example they love wrestling. I would buy them the wrestling magazines, which were about a fifth grade reading level. They wanted to read about wrestlers so much that they actually were getting better and better at reading.”
So there you have it moms. Just because your kids idolize a Neanderthal sport doesn’t mean there’s no academic hope for them. Also, tricking your little ones can sometimes even be good for them. Castro’s sneakiness, for example, led the boys to engage in their own love of reading by the time they got to high school. She says Julian participated in projects, of his own accord, to help teach older people to read, while Joaquin excelled at debate. Oh, and PS: They both finished high school a year early, so they could hurry up and get into Stanford and then onto Harvard Law School where that reading thing came in handy.
Of course, cultivating a love of reading alone was not enough to instill in her kids a sense of civic responsibility. Castro is herself a veteran activist in the San Antonio community, so she taught her kids by example the obligation she believes one has to engage in the political process and serve one’s community.
"I feel that by exposing them to the electoral process, exposing them to issues and talking about our community, that helped them to realize that every individual has a role to play in their community, that all of us can make a difference for the better. I think that that stuck with them,” Castro said.
It most definitely did.
Castro’s careful steering of her kids in the right direction is a testament to the power of positive parenting. While money and resources are important, the most essential ingredient has to be a parent who commits to their child’s education and models those values in their own life.