I was helping my son Jake with his writing homework this week. For a kid who constantly complains about having to write, I was pleasantly surprised to see his response to this week’s writing prompt. The assignment asked ‘what would you do if you could fly for the day?’ Jake had to write about where he would go and how he was able to fly.
Below is the Flying story Jake wrote:
For those of you who can’t read Jake’s writing (and honestly, I have a hard time to reading his handwriting too!), here is the story with all his spelling attempts:
If I could fly for a day I would go across the country.
I got this wonderful power from jumping off a trampuliene on the roof of my house and fell into a secret science lab. I thought I saw water, but instead it was super smart juice. And I drank it. Then I made fly for a day juice at 6:30am.
So I had breakfast at McDonalds and went to a place called Doubledown. Then I flew through the grand canyon beginning to end. And soon I was in San Fransico ready to watch a baseball game.
I felt so great I woke up. That was just a dream. Would you want this to happen to you?
Once he gets through all the complaining and crying, Jake really has potential to be a decent writer. He has the same quirky sense of humor as I do with all the imagination that an 8 year-old boy can possess. I started to wonder what can I do to encourage him to write more. And then I started to think about what I was like at his age.
My mom gave me some of the stories I wrote when I was Jake’s age. My spelling was just as bad as his but just like I see in Jake, you could see the thought process that went into my writing. There was a cohesive message in my stories. As I continued with my writing into my teens, you can see a beginning, middle/action and an ending with a conclusion.
I actually have some old report cards where a couple of my teachers even commented on my writing skills. This one is from my second grade teacher:
And this one is just two years later – I’m in 4th grade:
I love that line about my math homework! Guess things never change as my relationship with math still holds true today. I still find every excuse to not deal with math (mostly my business accounting work) and I intentionally forget to bring my math homework home.
All of this made me think about how does one raise a writer? I wrote stories as a child and it just spilled over into my teens. I even wrote a children’s book about ten years ago and its still sitting in my computer files. And now as an adult, I find myself taking writing classes while I’m blogging on two separate blogs every week.
It makes me wonder what kind of path I’d be on now if my parents had encouraged me more to continue with my writing. I know my parents read my stories, saved a few of them and most likely got a good laugh from most of them. Did they do everything they could have done to help me find my calling in my life?
I’m sure they did the best they could. I would guess the idea of their child becoming a professional writer wasn’t high on the list of achievements they wanted to see for me. I’d like to think that everything happens in our life for a reason. These experiences help us become the person we were meant to be. But I’m curious to everyone out there reading this – how are you encouraging your kid’s imagination to raise them as a writer?