Thursday, July 10, 2008


"Daddy, I sometimes don't want to go there."

Though I know where there happens to be, I ask anyway.

"What do you mean by there?"

"You know, where we are going now." [The writing workshop. It's the start of day number three, by the way.]

I wait a beat, and avoiding the voice tones of weary resignation or anger, I respond by saying something about how the workshop is only for a week and we've already reached the halfway point. I try to remind myself internally that she just got back from seeing a morning movie at the daycare. She probably didn't eat a full serving of anything at lunch.

1 2 3 4 5 . . .

. . . don't get upset.

You can tell from yesterday's post that I'm interested in this writers camp. But is that just because it offers me a break from my ever-so-familiar routine? (yes) Do I really think that Sarah can get something out of it? (Yes, I do . . . but she is only 8-years-old.) I'm sure that my level of investment in this is higher than hers, but I'm hoping that when all is said and done she will have something worthwhile to take out of it. No, I don't expect her to be penning novels or anything, but I do hope she'll have some fun. And she HAS had some fun. She's spoken well of the first few days. But I guess everyone can have a bad day, not feel 100% invested in every minute. Just don't give up, please!

I hold out hope that she will find value and maybe she'll want to do this again next year. If she ever wants to carry through someday (a LONG way away, to be sure) of being a professional writer, these kinds of experiences can help her. She doesn't understand that yet, and so I don't bother to say it . . . but you don't just stumble into a skill-based career based on dumb luck and any sort of innate ability. You have to work for it. She doesn't understand the notion of working for it, and maybe I don't either . . . really. But, these are things that she isn't going to hear right now and won't understand until later, if it ever becomes something that needs remembering and understanding.

I love Sarah's talent and I see that she is good at what she's doing. But what do I know? I'm absolutely the last one in a position to best evaluate her efforts--because I'm not a professional writer and most especially because I'm her father, with all of the rose-colored glasses that position brings to the situation. I've praised her in the past and will continue to do so, but I want other, more objective people to give her a sense of what she's doing, not doing, might need to do . . . perhaps (probably) this is not what is going on at this level of the writing workshop, but you've got to start somewhere. And if you don't follow through with the starting, then you'll never be able to reach the level where such feedback can be gleaned.

I am not a stage parent. If she doesn't want to pursue this next time, I'm not going to force her into it.

She took a drawing class several years ago and liked it just fine, but didn't seem jazzed about going on with it more.

We've done some swimming lessons, gotten the basics covered and moved on. There has been no discussion of swim teams.

We've dabbled in dance and tap. She did it for a session or two but then it was over.

We did one season of soccer. I began to hope that she might find a liking for this and want to pursue it more long term. As the season wore on and the losses mounted, however, she seemed less enthusiastic. Maybe a different team with a different coach would bring forth any latent soccer-based desire? Who knows? We asked if she wanted to participate in a summer camp and she demurred. Will she have any interest in trying again in the fall? If so, how does she fit in with other kids who are more consistently playing and advancing in skill level?

We're currently involved in gymnastics. She likes it so far, but it's only been two Saturday morning meetings. How long before the thrill of the leotard wears off? Will that time come?

We always let her make the decisions about continuing on. Between payments and commitments, the choice is hers. But once we block it off and pay for it, we want her to finish what she started.

I haven't nagged; I am not expecting perfection; I just wonder if she'll latch hold of something and really find excitement in it.

Perhaps tomorrow will be different?

Yeah, it probably will.

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