My daughter's letter was lying in wait for me right there in my bathroom drawer. When I was alone, enjoying some peace and quiet at the end of the day, this strategically placed letter caught me by surprise. When opened, it let out a mighty roar. In full teacher-mode, I took out my proverbial red pen because it is mightier than the sword.
Bring it on, girl.
So I read her carefully written letter.
"How much basketball means to me" - good hook.
"I want to, not would like to" - yes, a strong, determined declaration.
"Improve on my skills" - thesis statement, and underlined to boot!
"Shooting, dribbling, and other things" - A-ha! I found a fragment!
But then I saw it. She quoted me! In fact, her claws cut out my words from MY last note to her. And she underlined and highlighted MY words to use against me. Ouch, that one hurt. Well played, little one. Well played.
Friends, to give you some background, we had been debating back and forth about the tortures (her argument) and merits (my argument) about Chinese School. No doubt, this will be an on-going conversation with her, but her letter to me about this issue is not the only letter she wrote.
She also wrote a letter to my husband!
"As soon as possible" - sense of urgency.
"basketball is my life" - she knows her audience well, as my husband is a big basketball fan.
"I'm forced to do Chinese now" - effective use of emotional appeal, wouldn't you agree?
Oh, this letter is full of the desperate meows of a trapped kitten, pleading with big kitty eyes!
I put down my red pen. Indeed, long gone are the days of the "terrible-two" tantrums. A sophisticated, 10-year-old young lady has emerged before my very eyes. By all accounts, these are well-written persuasive letters, not from a girl who wanted to protest and fight, but from my daughter who brought me her heart.
I am in uncharted territory - her pre-teen years. I'm fairly certain how I navigate these coming years will have a lasting impact on the woman she becomes.
In my daughter's world where it seems one choice must be made over another, can they co-exist? Could she do both Chinese School AND Basketball? How can I show her that both are valuable?
And as she marches on towards her teenage years and into womanhood, how do I model a respectful dialogue where she knows I consider her feelings and will openly talk with her about her perspectives? If we disagree (or she finds herself in a different position from her peers), will she know that I still love her, no matter what?
So, dear friends, I owe her a letter. What do you think?
Feel free to chime in with your comments. I welcome your thoughts!
Join me for a workshop with the San Jose Area Writing Project.
We'll talk about personal narrative on February 11th and persuasive writing on March 4th.
For inspiration and helpful tips on parenting, check out my other blogs on GenParenting.com!