Recently, during my weekly jaunt through Ross’ Dress for Less store (which, by the way, is the place I can find the BEST unexpected finds), I found a section of journals. The journals were varied: some were large, the size of 8.5 x 11 paper, and some were small, about the same size as my hand. Some had lines in them, some were blank. Some were filled with biblical verses, some had motivational quotes. It was then that I had (what seemed like) a great idea.
Two Writing Teachers and the writing challenge have renewed my love for writing and I find me wanting that love to seep into others, as well. This now includes my children.
My great idea was to buy 3 journals: one for myself, one for my daughter (age 8) and one for my son (age 4). I was inspired by Kathleen Sokolowski’s post called the Reluctant Writer. I hoped that by encouraging my kids to write in different ways for different purposes, I wouldn’t have reluctant writers.
Flashback to the first night of journaling:
I decided that we would journal together about 30 minutes before their bedtime. I showed the kids their journals that I had picked out for them (mistake #1) and my son immediately wanted his sister’s journal. I read the biblical verse on the front (“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” John 3:16) and explained that this was meant for him. He begrudgingly took it. I then proudly pulled out a whole host of writing utensils (mistake #2) – pens, pencils, felt markers, colored pencils, even a Sharpie – and told him he could pick whichever he wanted to do his writing. He chose a black pen then changed his mind and chose the green pen. He hemmed and hawed, switched back to the black pen and then put it down and finally chose the green again. By this point, I was getting a little worried that it was time to go to bed, but tried my best to be patient with him.
My daughter, on the other hand, was busily drawing and writing in her journal, excited to have this opportunity to share her thoughts.
I then said to my son, “What do you want to write or draw about? You can do whatever you want!” To which he said, “I don’t want to write.” Getting discouraged, I said, “But you picked your favorite color! Green! Now write or draw anything! Mommy’s going to write too!” He reluctantly (there’s that word!) picked up his pen and, his grip not being the best, the pen fell out and onto the ground. Thinking I was helping (mistake #3), I picked up the pen and showed him a pincer grasp and said, “Try holding the pen like this!” To which his reply was to give me the ugliest look ever. Smile on my face, still determined, I held out the pen and encouraged him to take it. He took it and groaned, “I’m only writing my name!” “Great!” I replied.
As he held the pen with a fist instead of the correct grasp, it took everything inside me to shut my mouth and let him go. I could feel the teacher in me coming out, wanting to correct him, but I didn’t. He wrote his name and threw the pen down. He was done. I sighed, finished my writing and asked if everyone was ready to share what they wrote. My daughter excitedly said “YES!” while my son yelled, “NO!” It was now a little past their bedtime and I was getting more and more anxious. I asked if he wanted to go first and thankfully, he obliged. He held up his book, said, “This is my name. L-E-I-F. See?” And we gloriously clapped for him. My daughter then shared her writing and intricate pictures with us (including dinosaurs for her brother) and we clapped for her as well. I shared my writing and they clapped for me.
By this point, it was WAY past their bedtime and they needed to get to bed, though I’m pretty sure I was even more exhausted than they were. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this again. But when I tucked my daughter in, she said, “Mommy, that was fun. I love writing and I love showing you what I write! Thanks!” ♥
My son may very well be a reluctant writer, but I was grateful for that time with my kids, however harried it was. And though I’m pretty sure I have not passed my love of writing to my son, the time spent together was well worth it. At least it gave me something to look back on and laugh about later.