By Rebekah Henry Murphy

2017-2018 President, The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc.

I say I’m one of the lucky ones.  I grew up in a family of educators.  My father recently retired as a superintendent after 42 years in Georgia public schools.  My maternal grandmother was a Pre-K teacher, my paternal grandmother a librarian.  So it was only fitting that as children, my siblings and I grew up with a passion for reading and learning.  Education has always been our family’s greatest core value.

I’m lucky to now pass on that love for learning and reading to my two-year old son, Henry.

Each day and night we fill our days with books, letters, nursery rhymes, and counting.  Exploring, creating and adventures.  One of the most exciting aspects of being a parent is watching him develop and hit new milestones.  Along the way, it is amazing to see how his favorite books change – from the repetitive and predictable cadence of books like “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and “Goodnight Moon” to stories about adventurous and quirky characters like “Violet the Pilot” or characters experiencing everyday activities such as going to school for the first time with “Annabelle Swift, kindergartner” and “Chu’s First Day at School”.

Now he insists on reading (from memory) some of his favorite stories like “Each, Peach, Pear, Plum” which brings all the beloved nursery characters together in one story and performing the nursery rhymes I’ve repeated hundreds of time – Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, and Hickory Dickory Dock.

Having a two year-old is like living with a learning sponge.  Every new experience, every word added to his vocabulary, every new adventure is building the path to literacy and learning.  It is amazing to watch them blossom in front of your eyes.  For me, the most sentimental moments in being a parent is living the memories of my childhood with my own child.  I am now re-reading the same stories I spent hours pouring over with my parents and grandparents around the kitchen table, cuddled up on the floor, and during bedtime routines.  Their time with me instilled a love of the written word, of escaping into a story, and always being curious to learn.  I know our weekly library trips, and reading the same book over, and over, and over again, are just the building blocks for a foundation and love for learning in my child

Watching my child grow and learn reminds me every day of the importance of quality early learning.  This is why the Junior League of Atlanta supports Georgia Pre-K and our volunteers work to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood education and encourage community engagement in literacy and education preparedness for children birth to age 8.  We know one of the greatest keys to helping all children succeed in school is to give them a strong start as preschoolers.

About The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc.  The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. (JLA) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.  JLA values service and believes in every member’s potential to make a difference in our community through voluntarism, community leadership and advocacy.  For more information, visit