being a writer is a lot like the 2nd grade

For this mom, back to school also means back to volunteering. I confess it is not the most anticipated event on my weekly calendar, and I can easily dream up a minimum of ten things I would rather be doing. And yet, I am confident that in the long run this is the best use of 2 hours and 45 minutes, both for myself and my son. This week was the first of many in which I am not only reminded of the countless reasons why I could never succeed as a teacher, but also that quality educators are not given enough recognition for their patience, effort, compassion, and commitment. I am forever in awe of these dedicated people, but my latest venture into the classroom provided an extra reason to be impressed. The kids.

The assignment was to create seven complete sentences gleaned from a list of topics. As expected, there were those who needed little direction and others who practically wanted me to do their work for them. While I like to believe the kids enjoy seeing me in the classroom (I know my son does), I try to impart a little bit of silly with a whole lot of structure to help our time together move along. As you can guess, keeping the collective students focused upon the chore in front of them rather than on lunch and recess was no small task. And it wasn’t long before I determined being a writer is a lot like the 2nd grade.

Because sometimes you need to:

  • KEEP GOING even if you don’t know the correct spelling or which word to use
  • RE-ARRANGE WORDS so the sentences have a better flow
  • TRY DIFFERENT WORDS to find the perfect one
  • IGNORE THE FUN things around you and simply do the work
  • STOP WHINING and correct your mistakes
  • REALIZE YOU DO NOT KNOW IT ALL and ask for help
  • FOLLOW THE RULES even when you don’t feel like it
  • BREAK THE RULES to express what you are feeling
  • ACCEPT PRAISE AND CRITICISM and understand that neither one defines you
  • HAVE FAITH in yourself and your ability
  • LEAVE THINGS ALONE when there is no more room for improvement
  • LAUGH AT THE THINGS around you and don’t be so serious

The lens of the 2nd grader provides a wonderful way in which to view the world. Simple. Carefree. Unblemished. Yet still impressionable and inspired by every new experience. I can’t say I would ever want to be eight-years-old again, but I may pretend to think like one when I’m writing.

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