5 Things I Learned from Reading The Godfather

I finished The Godfather last night.  As much as I want to think I am a hardcore reader I’m really not.  It’s not always easy to set aside time to read with 2 young active kids, a wife and a full time job.  But maybe because it was the Holidays and I had a little more free time than usual I was able to read it in about 2 weeks.  Not bad, an average of about 32 pages a day.  Although I read 130 of those pages the last two days to finish it.

It goes to show you that you can read any book if you just give yourself a little time.  Try for 10 pages a day.  My guess is you’ll find the time to read more like 20 – 30 pages.  Especially if it’s a good book.  If it’s not a good book, than put it down and pick up another one.  There are just too many great books out there to waste any time on a book you aren’t enjoying.

I have primarily been a Nonfiction reader the last few years.  The last Fiction book I was was Marley and Me and that was about 8 years ago.  It was Steven Pressfield’s new novel that got me thinking about going back into Fiction.  That coupled with Stephen King’s book about writing, “On Writing”, which I have been listening to on Audio caused me to develop a craving for a good story.

I found a copy of “The Godfather” in the FREE TAKE ME section of my library.  No cover, a little beat up on the outside, but free and perfectly fine on the inside.  And that’s what really counts, right?  The inside.

I tracked down the old book and opened it up.  Mario Puzo had me hooked within a few pages.  I have seen the movies many times but Puzo goes into so much more detail.  I always figured the book would be pretty much exactly like the movie.  The movie did a great job but what was a pleasant surprise was that parts of the Godfather II were in the book.

As you probably recall, the Godfather II focuses on the Don’s early life in NY as well as Michael’s new role as the Godfather.  I always loved the scenes in Part II seeing the history of Don Corleone.  I was thrilled to get a chance to read the story with so much more detail.

Clearly I am recommending this book to any adult interested in the mafia, crime, family or even love.  There are a ton of love stories intertwined.




Five things I learned from reading the Godfather


  1. You get a sense of accomplishment when you read a book of length.  I know that it wasn’t War and Peace at 1200 plus pages.  But it’s not a book you can read overnight.  You need to develop and maintain a reading habit and stick to it.  It helps when the story is good of course.  I did get chills when I finished the book.
  2. Your mood is altered when you read a book.  I first learned this when I read “The Catcher in the Rye“. I remember being so somber, almost depressed when I was reading that book.  This is true with Nonfiction as well.  Read a book on Happiness (like The Happiness Advantage) and you’ll feel happy.  Maybe that’s why Fifty Shades of Grey was so popular….
  3. You don’t have more time to read but you will use your time to read.  We usually sit around and watch tv.  Law and Order, sports, Speed, The Lost Boys, whatever we can find.  But for those two weeks I kept the TV off or if it was turned on, I was focusing on the book and not the TV.  There were also times when a game would be on,  the TV muted and my face buried in the book.  We still only have 24 hours but we can decide how to use them.
  4. You want to talk about the book to everyone!  That’s all you can think about.  You will seek out people you think would be interested in the book and talk with them about it.  You will start to think you are a weirdo because you read and not watch the latest episode of This is Us.  But you don’t care because you are so happy with yourself and so in love with the story you are reading.
  5. When you finish, you will celebrate briefly and then pick up the next book.  Congratulations.  You are now a reader.  You now have the habit inside of you.  Now you can move on to the next one and fall in love with those characters.  Remember though, if you don’t like it, put it down and pick up another one.


Happy Reading!


-Keith Laskey


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10 Ideas for a Better Bedtime for Kids

Empowering our Youth


Tatum and I have a little ritual.  Lately, I’m sad to say, she has been better at keeping up with it than I have been.

Each night, after the bath and the teeth brushing and final potty trip and the book, Tatum will crawl into bed and ask, “Daddy, what are you grateful for today?  That is always followed up with, “and daddy, what are you proud of that you did today?”

I freaking love it.  It’s a good habit to get into.  It allows us both to reflect on something we have gratitude for as well as something that makes us proud.  What a great way to drift off into sleep!

Sometimes I’m too much of a grump to initiate the conversation.  Sometimes I just want to say goodnight and run out of the room as quickly as I can.  I’m not happy to admit that but it’s the case.   Luckily I have her to keep me in check.

So I started thinking, what are 10 Habits a 5-year old can start at bedtime?


Reading to Tatum

Tatum and I reading when she was 3

Here are my 10 ideas.


1. Read a book every night.

Try to read a book to them every night.  I believe this helped my stepson, Reece, read quicker than he would have otherwise.  It also seems to have impacted his love for books because you will rarely catch him without a book in his hands.  He is a rare kid that seems to carry books more often than his iPod!  Read with enthusiasm!  Put on a show and watch them glow!

2. Say something you are grateful for and something you are proud of.

This allows them to reflect on their day.  It also gets them in the habit of being grateful which will always be beneficial.  Finding something they are proud that they did today will help them appreciate themselves and maybe even encourage them to do more things they are proud of tomorrow.

3. Say something that you did that failed.

We all want our kids to be perfect.  But they are going to need to take chances and risks.  Dealing with failure will only help them as they grow into young men and women.  It’s a good idea that they learn to accept failure and think of ways to overcome them and how to avoid them the next time a similar situation arises.

4.  Talk about a goal you have for tomorrow.

Is is too early for kids to have goals?  I don’t think so. Why not get them started on this habit early?  A goal could be something as simple as using a teacher’s name when they say good morning.  Or ask a friend how they are feeling today.  Not only does it get them in the habit of setting and achieving goals but it could also get them using good people skills.

5. Make a drawing of something.

For adults, just before bedtime is a good time to write down a few things in a journal.  For kids that are still learning how to write, bedtime could be used as a time to express how they are feeling through coloring or drawing.  We’re not looking to color within the lines of a coloring book but rather a free for all drawing or picture.  A way for them to express whatever they are thinking about.

6. Say an Inspirational Quote.

I love quotes.  Positive and inspirational quotes are whispers in your ear that remind you that anything is possible.  There is an abundance of everything that we want in this world for us to have and to share.  I see no reason why we shouldn’t be teaching our young children that this is so. Maybe start with this one….




7. Give 1 ideas as to how you can help someone else.

Get them thinking about ways they can help others.  Maybe a friend is sick and they think of the idea to bring them soup.  Maybe his teacher needs help rounding up her students for quiet time and he can help.  It isn’t really important what they think of, just that they get in the habit of thinking of different ways they can help others.

8. Talk about 1 place they want to visit.

This may be my favorite.  Our children cannot think that the world only consists of their house and town.  Whether it be a small town like the suburb I live in or the biggest city in the country.  When I was 21 I drove across the country, PA-OH-IN-IL-WI-MN-SD-WY-MT-ID-WA-OR-CA.  It was one of the greatest 2 weeks of my life.  My wife and I have taken our kids to Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas and there is still so much to see.  Show them pictures and get them thinking about where they want to visit.  And then find a way to make it happen!

9. Talk about 1 book you would write.

Writing a book is easier now than it ever has been before.  Sure, it might just be an eBook, but it’s simple to do.  The hardest part is putting the time in to do it.  Most 5 year olds aren’t writing books but that doesn’t mean they can’t use that creativity muscle to think of books they would write!  Just ask them and let their little minds wonder.  Who knows what they’ll come up with!

10. Just hug and say I love you.

OK, I went easy on this one.  Of course this is a good idea.  But it’s one we can’t forget.  Sometimes Tatum will call me back in after she is in bed and ask for another hug and kiss.  The answer is always  yes.  We should always find the extra 30 seconds for another hug, kiss and an I love you.  Think of how nice it is when someone says those words and shows that type of affection to you.  I can’t imagine any better way to say goodnight than that.


What do you think? Could you use any of these ideas for your bedtime ritual?  What other suggestions do you have?


Please feel free to leave a comment and share this post.  Thanks!

My name is Keith Laskey. I actually believe children are our future. I write articles about how we can empower our youth so that the world will be a better place for all of us.

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