Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Father Behind LITTLE MISS

As I've said before, I cherish the time that I spend reading with my boys. It is the rare time during the day that I have all of their undivided attention, and for a space in time, we get to experience something together that is truly outside of our world, all while snuggled up close.

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,"
 said George Martin. "The man who never reads lives only one."

There are many of you that share this same belief. 
 The power of unlocking worlds as well as our minds, and embarking on endless adventures with our children during those valuable little moments of reading together.

One such friend of ours has taken his passion for reading, and love of learning, and extended it to his child in a very tangible way. He devised a plan that yielded rewards, far exceeding his expectations, and reading about his journey will empower you to shoot beyond the mark in any area of your life.

Nearly a year ago, Nate Meikle, asked John and I to read his Memoir that he had written about his experience teaching his 2 1/2 year old daughter to read.  
I was intrigued to hear about his experience, particularly because learning to read for our oldest son Ty came so naturally. He did everything early, according to my friends; however, he was completely self motivated. Sure he watched the Preschool Prep videos (which I highly recommend) and I read to him religiously but, before I could really consider how I would teach him to read, he was already doing it on his own, so hearing about an actual reading program was altogether a new idea for me. 
Not to mention starting as young as two and a half.

Nate's book struck a chord with me. 
Not only did it confirm to me the benefits of reading to your children, but also showed the valuable contribution reading adds to the parent-child relationship. 
Who doesn't want to connect more deeply with their children?  

Here we are, one year later since I read his book for the first time, and I am happy to share, 
his book is now live on Amazon! 

No matter your season in life, children or no children,
 I highly encourage you to take an hour and read it! 
It's more than just a book about reading to your child. 
It is a true testament of the human spirit and defying odds, 
of pushing yourself beyond cultural expectations and 
 fully reaching for your potential. 

By the way, how AMAZING is this cover?!!

I love the insight he shares that we as human beings, especially children, should be praised for our effort and not for simply 'being smart'. 

A mistake John and I made early on 
and are now trying our best to reverse. 

I also love that Nate isn't out to push a one size fits all approach to teaching your child to read, but is instead raising the awareness of just how much our children, and ourselves, can accomplish if we will but foster the environment to do so. 
Let them soar, encourage it, and break the bounds that we too often let society set. 
They are hungry for learning, why not feed their hunger?

An added bonus of this book, is a list he shares of their top 200 favorite Children's Books.
From a couple, (Nate's wife Keshia was of course key to this experiment) who read over 3,000 different books to their child in one year, I trust their opinion. 
 Who doesn't want a fresh reading list? 

Nate has given us a little tiny sneak peek into that list here:
  1. Ain't Gonna Paint No More! Karen Beaumont
  2. Where's My Mom? Julie Donaldson
  3. Blue Chameleon Emily Gravett
  4. Goldilocks and Just One Bear Leigh Hodgkinson
  5. Plant a Kiss Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  6. Mahalia Mouse Goes to College John Lithgow
  7. Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School David Mackintosh
  8. Bubble Trouble Margaret Mahy
  9. Artichoke Boy Scott Mickelson
  10. The Little Bitty Bakery Leslie Muir
  11. The Skeleton in the Closet Alice Schertle
  12. Cowboy and Octopus Jon Sciezka
  13. Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah Allen Sherman
  14. Robot Zombie Frankenstein Annette Simon
  15. I'm a Duck Teri Sloat
  16. Little Mouse Gets Ready Jeff Smith
  17. We Can't Sleep James Stevenson
  18. Woof a Love Story Sarah Weeks
  19. A Few Blocks Cybele Young
  20. A Million Chameleons James Young

So who is the father behind LITTLE MISS?

You may be thinking, "What is the purpose of teaching your 2 year old to read?" Or, "How can I relate to someone who not only had the desire to take on this task, but actually completed it?" 

I will answer with the question, "How can you not relate?" 

As you will soon come to find out, 
there is a little bit of Nate in all of us. 
He saw the value in giving this gift to his daughter,
 because he has experienced the fruits of gaining knowledge for himself. 

He not only made a goal for his daughter and then guided her through the process of achieving it, he himself is the result of one who has set high goals for himself and achieved much because of his commitment and hard work. 
He has had set backs, he has had to give tremendous effort for what he has accomplished and he has gifts, but none more extraordinary than you or I. 

Throughout his college football career he suffered injuries, played on meager scholarships or no scholarship at times. Regardless of previous football accomplishments, he was initially not only denied a scholarship to play Division-I ball, but was told his opportunity was only on the practice squad with no possibility for game time. After working to show the coaches what he was capable of for a solid year on the practice squad, he was then asked to change positions. Despite his adversities he committed his time and in John's words, "worked his tail off everyday!" and was awarded a scholarship his senior year at BYU. He not only played but contributed to the team's success in a major way.
He went on to defy the odds and was credited with several accomplishments and awards:
 Conference-high 26 punt returns for 307 yards, 2nd in the MWC with an average of 11.8 yards per punt return, ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Region, and set the record for most receptions in a BYU Bowl Game at 12 catches. 

John, Nate, and Curtis Brown after winning the Las Vegas Bowl

Nate is 5 ft 9 inches, he played running back his entire life but achieved these accomplishments at BYU while playing receiver, a position he had never played, because in his words, 
"I couldn't catch, at least not consistently." 
How can that be like you and me? 
Because he took what he did have and he made it more. 
That is something we are all capable of doing.

During his senior year at BYU, Nate took the LSAT and scored in the 55th percentile. Nate then spent a couple years working in real estate, until he realized that the only thing that stood between him and qualifying for the top law programs in the country was his effort. He spent six months studying for the LSAT in order to take it again, this time scoring high enough to get into law school at Stanford. 
Of course I'm not surprised at all to see what Nate has accomplished over the years. It was easy to see these qualities in Nate when I first met him over 12 years ago.  

Before BYU, with its records, awards, and championships, before my husband grew to admire and love Nate, and share life long memories with him,
 there were the Snow College days.

This is where Nate and I shared a group of friends that spent a year of college life together. There was our intramural coed basketball team (which dominated of course), water fights, Sunday dinners, open discussions about the gospel, dances, and we girls may or may not have broken into their house one weekend to raid their treats:) In fact we even had a we even had a marriage come from this group of friends.

As any of our mutual friends can attest, he is a person of integrity and consistency. He is someone we trust, admire, and can depended on. Nate is a doer and we all recognize it. We knew then that he was going to go places and he wasn't afraid to stand alone if he had to, in order to accomplish what he set out to do.  

LITTLE MISS is the kind of book I value, because I know the kind of person behind it. It isn't written by someone who is simply just a scholar and out of touch with every day life. 
He is a dad just doing his best, 
investing in the most important thing he can: 
his daughter.

He doesn't have some unattainable secret to accomplishing difficult things. 
He simply makes commitments and keeps them,
 "works his tail off" and has fun along the way. 

Just what are you capable of? 
You'll never know until you begin the path to find out.


  1. Okay this post almost made me cry like three different times. I love it. Every ounce of it. You took me back and made me think beyond where I am now and as all three of my kids got sent to bed early (all for various reasons) their punishment was NO HARRY POTTER tonight. I'm feeling more punished than them. I want to attest that reading the scriptures with my kids has blessed them and allowed them to think deeper and well beyond their years. I believe in reading.

  2. Awesome post!! I didn't know all those amazing things about Nate. I am excited to read his book and put it to good use in our family. I've been having so much fun reading to my boys at night - it just calms things down and it is such a great way to end the day. My dream job is to be over the children's section of the library:) Sometimes we get so distracted with so many other things - but reading with our kids should always be a priority. This is actually Melissa, but I was too lazy to switch over users.

  3. 2 1/2 years old...what the...that is cozettes age?!?! I need to check this book out and I do love that cover! :-) miss you.