Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 3

Today, March 3rd, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Grasping gloved hands, we quick-stepped across the street toward the trailhead.  My breath hung cloudy in the air, while cold wind whispered in my ear, reminding me it was still winter.  “So, what did you write about yesterday?” asked my eight year-old daughter, looking up at me from beneath her pink polar fleece hat.  The two of us had just snuck out of the house, bundled up in hats, gloves, and snow boots, to steal an early morning weekend hike while my wife and other two daughters slept in.  I had just reminded her that the 2020 Slice of Life Story Challenge had begun.

“Well,” I began, “I wrote about you. And that Cyndi Lauper song we heard yesterday. . . you know, the one called ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun?’  Remember we listened to that song yesterday?”

Suddenly dropping my hand, my daughter burst out into the frigid winter air, “Aww, come on, dad!  That’s what you wrote about?!”

Surprised by her reaction, I suddenly felt pangs of guilt.  Gosh, maybe she feels offended that I wrote about her without her permission, I thought to myself.  We had now reached the trailhead and had begun to traverse up the snowy path toward the barren forest.  Winter stared at me from every angle.  “Well,” I stammered, “I mean, I didn’t just write about you and that song.  I, uh, also wrote about how it reminded me of high school, and other thoughts…”

My daughter interrupted my awkward explanation. “I mean, girls want a job and a life, too, Dad!” she quipped.

Wait, what did she just say?  I tried to connect the dots of this surprising conversation.  Then suddenly it occurred to me that her indignation originated not from a parental breach of privacy assumption; no, she was taking issue with the song lyric.  “You mean, girls don’t want to just have fun?” I asked trying to clarify.

“Yeah!” my daughter giggled.  “I mean, that’s dumb.  Girls. . . we want a job and a life, too!  That song is dumb.  I don’t like it.”

“Right, honey.  I hear you.  Girls want more than to just have fun.” With snow crunching beneath our boots, we grabbed hands again and headed into the forest.

Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

14 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 3”

  1. Your slice brought be back ten years ago when I first realized that I was raising an activist. I think the day when my 6-year old daughter ‘put me in my place’ was one of my proudest moments. Thank you for bringing this memory back to life, just as I’m about ready to wake my now 16-year old activist!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed the sensory imagery of “My breath hung cloudy in the air, while cold wind whispered in my ear, reminding me it was still winter.” And the idea of getting to understand our kids a little better, “I tried to connect the dots of this surprising conversation” enjoyable!

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  3. I think one of my favorites parts of March is talking to my kids about what I write and getting their reactions or having THEM realize the moments that are write-worthy. This is a post to share with her, for sure, as its reflections and bigger meaning go beyond the moment. She’s got some important realizations going on!

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  4. Good for your daughter. I agree with her. It is a dumb song; girls want lots of things (but we want to have fun too).
    I feel your pain, though, when you wrote about your worry that you breached that parent-child confidentiality. Parenting is fraught!

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  5. What a great perspective piece. Your transition from fear that you had misstepped to her outcry about girls works beautifully in your piece. This will be a great piece to share with her in the future.

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  6. Oh my goodness her reaction was something out of left field! For her to see the bigger picture at age 8 is amazing. On a side note as I was driving to the gym last night that very song was playing on the radio.

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  7. What a beautifully written slice… I had a similar experience with my daughter given my first post featured her 🙂 The last thing she whispered to me before she went to bed tonight was, ‘Mum, can I read your blog tomorrow?”. Its such a beautiful feeling to know she is excited for me. Thank you for this!

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  8. The times spent and conversations with a child are so precious to write down. What a spark in your daughter. The mixture of descriptions, dialogue and inner thought made this slice come alive.

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  9. I was immediately hooked that your daughter was curious about your writing. I think this says a lot about your relationship. I also loved your daughter’s strong response to the song. I’ve never thought much about the lyrics- but I will now!

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  10. I love the imagery and the closeness between you and your daughter that’s reflected in this piece. You also made me realize that I’ve never shared this challenge with my own kids. They were too little (1 and 3) my first year, and time has marched on so quickly. I need to start sharing my writing life with them!

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  11. So well written, thanks for capturing the moment in a slice so vividly with the snowy backdrop…I have to agree with your daughter, I really don’t like that song at all…I’m glad she’s spotted it already at the age of eight!


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