I substituted as site director for Crafting a Green World over the holidays (and yes, of COURSE Matt had to call me Director Finn), which means that for a while, I was writing five times a week, sometimes literally with a piece of pumpkin pie at my elbow. Fortunately, this was the best time to have the extra work, since Matt was on his vacation, as well, and with him playing with the kids, it wasn't too stressful to sneak off regularly and get these posts up:
|You cannot have too many of these, by the way. They make organizing for extracurricular activities so much easier.|
a review of 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids (the kids made slime and sidewalk paint)
|Giving the slime a haircut is always fun.|
and, finally, an essay on the future of computer learning and the service industry
That was a lot of writing, right? Congratulations to me!
Anyway, the other day, Will was pitching a fit about having to brainstorm topics for a personal narrative that I'll be requiring her to write next week. She didn't want to brainstorm topics; she WANTED to play half an hour of LEGO Marvel, but she wasn't allowed her last half-hour of screen time until after she'd finished her schoolwork. The only thing left on her work plans, however?
Brainstorm topics for a personal narrative.
After the huge temper blow-up, which thankfully took place in her father's company, not mine, she appeared in front of me, teary-eyed but belligerent, and I pulled her into my lap to quietly chill out for a while. After some chilling, she again expressed her desire to have her half-hour of screen time; I assured her that she had only one assignment left to complete before she could do that. She expressed her desire to NOT write a personal narrative; I assured her that she did not have to write a personal narrative today. Rather, she needed only to brainstorm a topic for a personal narrative to be written in the future. She asked why she had to write a personal narrative at all; I explained that much practice in composition is required before it comes easily, and that she will want it to come easily, so that she can focus on all that she wants to communicate one day. She said something along the lines of "how/why/what do you know about it, anyway?"
I looked at her in bewilderment, amusement battling with a bit of horror, and said, "Child, do you not know that your MOTHER is a writer?!? This is what I do all day when I'm not actively engaging with you. Writing is my JOB! Not even to mention--I used to TEACH writing, to COLLEGE STUDENTS! And you used to come with me sometimes! To my WRITING WORKSHOPS! Did you never wonder what was going on there, all the 18-year-olds in a classroom, me at the front of it talking to them, them asking me questions, me answering them? I was teaching them HOW TO WRITE!!!"
Once I had successfully made the child understand that I am a reliable authority in the field of composition and its instruction (mental note: must get my diplomas framed and hung to point out to them when they're acting belligerent about academics), the conversation resolved, the child finished her brainstorming, I praised it, and she actually promised me that she would not throw a fit at all next week about any part of the process of writing and editing a personal narrative.
I should have made her write that down and sign it, because I can guarantee you that she will throw a fit, likely at every single step of the writing and editing processes, but there was no time...
After all, the kid had a half-hour of LEGO Marvel to play!