Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 9

Today, March 9th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

We had been reading on the couch, sitting close.  My ten-year-old daughter suddenly closed her book and said, “That was so good!”  Looking up from my own book, I saw the satisfied smile beaming across her face.  I smiled, too.

“Wow, you finished it, huh?  That’s great!” I said.

My eight-year-old daughter had now entered the room.  She spoke to her older sister, who was now no longer engrossed in her book.  “I heard you yelling at Lucas (not his real name) on the bus on Friday,” she said.  Surprised to hear this, I turned to fix my gaze on my eldest daughter again.  Wait, she yelled at another kid? Not familiar.  Laying my book upon my lap, I remained silent.

“Yeah,” my ten-year-old started, “I did yell.  He tried to sit in my friend’s assigned seat and say it was his.  I told him, ‘no, that’s my friend’s seat, not yours.'”

“What did he say?” I queried, fascinated by this unusual recounting of a confrontation.  This felt like new territory.  I had never heard of my daughter quarreling with another kid this way.

“Well, he told me to mind my own business.  But I told him that since he was trying to take my friend’s seat, it was my business.”  She continued, recounting the argument and how she never backed down.

Reflecting on this conversation (to myself), the word “advocacy” came to mind. And “courage.”  I felt proud of my daughter.  I also, perhaps tangentially, thought about how reading builds empathy.  I thought about how reading books helps us to see, understand, and share the feelings of another.  My daughter is a big reader.  Did her reading habit play a role in her willingness to stand up to a known bully on the bus that day?  Does reading also build moral courage?  Or agency? Maybe it does.

It wasn’t a huge, consequential stand my daughter took that day.  But to me, it felt symbolic.  She wasn’t afraid. She stood up for another. And I felt so proud of her.

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,

17 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 9”

  1. It is symbolic, I think, of an important sense of injustice that your daughter should find and use her voice against it. A moment that floods a parent with a paradoxical mixture of pride and humility. I would bet that reading has played a big part in developing the sense of empathy; she’s walked in a lot of others’ shoes. As I read, imagined that scene on the bus, and I could sense your daughter’s determination. So courageous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I believe it does. We find our voice through the experiences of others in life and in books. I am guessing she has also seen some advocacy in her family life as well. Good for her!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, courage, and yes, advocacy. I think that what one reads certainly does affect how we react in certain situations. Your daughter stood up for justice in this situation. Good for her.
    I love how you invite us into your family life with these slices.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. > Did her reading habit play a role in her willingness to stand up to a known bully on the bus that day? Does reading also build moral courage? Or agency? Maybe it does.<

    I don't think there's any maybe here. Reading helps her to "see" what an upstander looks like, what the situation can feel like, and how to navigate it in a courageous manner. Not only does the reading help, but so does the support she gets as a reader from her parents. The conversations you've had played a part too!

    Does it build all these things? I think what you wrote answers your question! 🙂

    Thank you for letting us peek into your life with this slice!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love how she could answer that it was her business since he was taking her friend’s seat. Good on her, may the girls continue to stand up for themselves and others. Surely reading makes a difference in her reasoning capability and figuring out what’s right and wrong as you suggest.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Deep readers have deep feelings, and I’m guessing your daughter is a deep reader. Kudos to her for standing her ground! Kudos to Dad for providing her an environment, including text, that supports character and courageous acts.

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  7. I don’t know who said it, but I’ve certainly ascribed to the notion that “we are what we read.” I would say that there’s a strong chance her love of reading, and the characters she’s read have played a role in developing her voice. Samuel Hamilton from Steinbeck’s East of Eden is a character who I feel has left a resounding impact on my life. It sounds like you’ve done a wonderful job fostering a love of reading, and an admiration of characters in her. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The smaller conflicts and arguments are so important. If she can be assertive in a low-consequence situation like this one, it helps her build confidence and communication skills for harder situations! I would be super proud of my kids too!

    Liked by 1 person

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