Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 12

Today, March 11th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

I handed her the phone and recited the number.  My ten-year-old daughter, slightly unsteady with this foreign, cordless landline unit, dialed the digits.  As I stepped away, I watched as she gripped her yellow pencil, straightened the papers on her clipboard.  Outside, the sun had begun to set, but the sky had only become more radiant and beautiful as the day had grown older.

“Hi, Gram!” My daughter spoke clearly and audibly into the phone.  She’s already doing great, I thought to myself.  I had explained that if she wanted to interview my nearly 100-year-old grandmother, she would need to speak loudly.  Gram’s hearing isn’t what it used to be.

My daughter’s assignment was entitled, “Interview a Woman in Your Life,” in honor of Women’s History Month.  From across the room, I listened and watched as my daughter enthusiastically asked questions and jotted down responses.

Reading over my daughter’s paper later, after she had gone to sleep, I noticed some recurrent themes in Grammy’s answers: (1) Gram felt pride in her family.  She’d raised three daughters, all of whom later became successful career women. (2) School and education mattered to her. This notion shone through in answers to multiple questions.  School was important.  She had always preached this message, even when I was young.  And (3) She did not feel entirely comfortable with the vast changes in women’s roles over the last 100 years.  Fair enough, I thought. Fair enough.

As I read through the interview questions and answers, I thought about how fortunate we are, for this opportunity to connect across so many generations is rare. Probably quite rare.  Flipping to the last page, I read the final question my daughter had posed: “What advice would you give to young people?”  My gram’s response:

  • Learn to love with all your heart
  • Get a good education
  • Love children

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,

9 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 12”

  1. What a great way to connect generations and empower your daughter. I remember my son interviewing my dad for something (but not quite) similar, and listening in to the conversation. I felt a bit like I was eavesdropping but it was worth it just to hear my son interview my dad (they talk all the time anyway but there was something about asking about my dad’s childhood and difficult times that deepened the connection)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know I HAD to read your slice when I saw the title! Love Gram’s advice–really, what more is there to life than love and learning? So great to see your child and your grandmother connecting in this way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Love children.” What a nice line to end with. I appreciated the image of her cradling the ‘unusual’ phone. Sounds like a worthwhile project for sure!


  4. You are so lucky gram could hear over the phone! My mom has a hard time hearing on the phone and so we’ve had to move to email more and more to have chats. Love the advice given to your daughter!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My children were fortunate to have some years with my precious grandmother, probably more meaningful for her. We were close and she left me a book full of her hopes. Oh, I have time to read that again! Thanks Lanny.

    Liked by 1 person

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