Dec 15, 2008

persuasion

part of the writing requirements at my kids' schools include completing a writing portfolio each year. they have to write a certain number of pieces that usually consist of a personal narrative, maybe a fact based article of some sort and a persuasive letter.

one year, my son wrote a persuasive letter to his grandfather persuading him to quit smoking. it was a great letter, but perhaps it wasn't worded strongly enough. my dad still smokes.

he wrote another piece - the personal narrative piece; about the time we went away for a little vacation with friends, and after a really fun dinner, the two families went to the little playground across the street -and while we parents were swinging on the swingsset and playing on the teeter totter, the kids ran around the trails on the periphery of the playground. the blood curdling scream that came soon after was when my son tripped over a tree root and broke his arm. only we didn't know it was broken and thought he was being dramatic.  which, if you know him - is not out of the realm of possibility. but the next day when they showed us the xray, we knew it was the real deal.

that kind of adventure, where you've come to some real bodily harm and your parents don't believe you always makes for the perfect sort of personal narrative.

on a similar note, my daughter wrote her personal narrative about the time (two months ago) when she went to the doctor to have the honkin' piece of glass removed from her foot. the same piece i told her wasn't there. (i can see that you can see there is a pattern here, but this time, the er doc who lives next door also told us there was nothing in her foot).
she complained about her foot for two weeks and started to compensate for the pain by walking on the edge of her foot, which then hurt her shins. but because the er doc didn't feel anything in her foot and there were no signs of anything - i told her she was fine and she needed to just suck it up. i told her if she was going to audition for the nutcracker, she'd have to stop walking all crazy like that. she went and auditioned for the nutcracker with that piece of glass in the ball of her foot. afterwards, she got in the car and told me how much she had to be up on her tippy toes and how much it hurt. still. she got the part. but the next day, i saw the look on the doctors face when he put on those big jewelers glasses and realized there was indeed something in there, and when he went in to dig out a centimeter-big piece of glass; i felt about as big as a centimeter. still, though. makes for a good personal narrative.

i'm just glad i can provide my kids with writing material.

my youngest, claudia has not yet had an experience that warrants such a personal narrative. considering our track record, she's lucky. give it time. she did however have the perfect subject for the persuasive letter requirement. she's been saving her meager allowance money for about a year - always with an eye on a new american girl doll. thanks to the generosity of grandparents, we have more than one of these dolls - the girls love them, as do i. i think they're sweet and mostly i love that they are still loved and consistently played with after all these years. but still. i just didn't think we needed more.

claudia came home with a persuasive letter a few weeks ago. in it, she persuaded me to let her buy a doll with her own money. it was a full three pages of how she would love it and care for it and clean her room. how she would pay for it with her own money. she even put in a little infomercial-style: but wait! there's more in it for you if you just read on. she would walk on my back (which, by the way is the best massage ever) whenever i wanted.

had this been a whim, and she hadn't actually been saving for a year, and talking about a doll for months, and pouring over the catalog every month and counting how much money she had; i wouldn't have given in. but she had done all those things, and written the letter. so we called and ordered the doll. she came home from school one day to find her new doll waiting for her - she opened the package all proud and happy and proceeded to take alice on a tour of the house and introduce her to every.single.thing.

this is when the lightbulb must have lit up.

because now, as she said to her sister "persuasive letters totally work" - she comes home from school everyday with a new letter. they are long and shameless and full of "keep reading, cause there is something in here for you". today it was for a cat game to play on her nintendo ds. cause she wants a cat for a pet, but since mommy and daddy are alergec to cats, the game should suffice. last friday's letter was for some other sort of stuffed toy she saw at target. she just pulls the letters out of her folder, all dated & signed - a new one each day, persuading me to let her get this or that.

sorry babe. the jig is up. that, and you only have 13 cents left now.

4 comments:

Cindy said...

heh heh you can't blame a kid for trying!

Groover said...

That's a very good story, Zanne (as always). You should encourage them. If your kids inherited any of your flair for writing you are in for many more letters and you will be able to sell them and become really rich ... :-)

Gotta Run said...

I love it. You kids have so much of you in them!! Not a bad thing.

house on hill road said...

kate has the cat game. tell her to come over!
{sweet post! jane's persuasive letter was to get an owl for a pet. too much harry potter? uh huh.}