Thursday, 28 February 2008

I'm a Bad Influence

That's right, I'm a bad influence on my children. It all started out when my son was in grade one. His favorite author at the time was the great Robert Munsch and we read all his books over and over again. One day I received a call from his school teacher. She laughed as she told me that he refused to sign his name to his assignments. I asked her how she knew which one belonged to him, and she said, "Oh, his is always signed 'Robert Munsch'." This only lasted until the end of grade one, but in grade two he entered a story he wrote at school in a regional writing contest and won.

Fast forward several years - my oldest daughter wants to be a writer. She was quite disappointed after a class assignment to look up different career options and learn more about the career they wanted to pursue. She had a hard time finding out anything about being a professional author and then was disappointed to learn that there is little money in it and she would still probably have to hold another job. Still, she wants to be a writer, and who am I to tell her it's a bad idea, since I still want to be a writer.

And now my ten year old is struggling under my bad influence. Last week, she had an assignment in school to write a story. I don't think the teacher meant it to take endless hours, but for her it did. She spent so much time researching the characters she'd decided to use (they were all mythical creatures and we even had to look up the sphinx's riddle), then writing the story, then editing and rewriting it by hand.

I asked her why she didn't just write a shorter story. She rolled her eyes. "Mom, every kid in the class writes a little two page story and they are SO boring when we have to listen to them all. They have NO detail and the characters are dull," she says as she stacks her seven page story and puts it into her notebook. "I want my stories to be good like yours."

And that's what happens when you live with a bad influence.


Traci Hunter Abramson said...

Sounds very similar to what happens in my house. Two of my three oldest kids have considered writing as a career, and the other has decided to be a fashion model.

I had a friend suggest that I should perhaps discourage such pursuits, but how can I? I'm a writer and my mother used to be a fashion model. Now she has a local television show that has been on the air for 25 years. Long shot careers, definitely, but also very possible if you believe in your dreams.

Michelle said...

I had to laugh at your post. It sounds like my house. my kids hear me talk about writing and it somehow influences thier lives. :)

I say encourage them to be what thier heart desires, happiness is so much more important than money.

My DD has caught the writing bug and when I heard there was a writing contest that she could enter at her age I encouraged her to write a short story. I thought it would be a good experience, finishing a MS, letting someone edit it, and give her encouraging crits then applying the edit and crits to finish the story.

Well months of work, and a full edit later she had a 33 page story in her hands. We talked excitedly as she filled out the entry form placed it in an envelope and sent it off.

Just last week we heard that her story, her first finished project won first place in the contest for her age. She cried when I told her. It was such a rewarding event that I'm sure she will remember for the rest of her life.

So let them thrive under your bad influence. I think you're doing a good job of corrupting them :)


Janette Rallison said...

Ahhh, what a nice compliment to you! You're obvioulsy teaching them to love reading and writing.

Rebecca Talley said...

What a great example you are to your kids. Continue on.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

It sounds like I'm not alone in being a bad influence. The next generation of writers should be great.

Michelle - tell your daughter congratulations. That's so exciting.

Christine Thackeray said...


You are doing a great job! No matter what profession they choose, writing will be a gift to them. You get the awesome mom award!

Laurie said...

How did I come across your blog? Too many clicks to even remember but I love it! I feel like I've found a kindred spirit! As a mother, writer, Mormon, you name it, just struggling to write and write well. I get so inspired by others who love the written word like I do and who aren't afraid to declare they ARE writers - published or not.

Sorry for the ramble - love the site and the sentiments, I'll visit often!

Josi said...

That is so cool, I love it. Bad influence? I don't think so my dear, your passion is simply contagious.

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