Yesterday I was walking past my 11-year-old daughter’s room when she asked me to help her with something. I went in, and she handed me a poem she wrote for her language arts class and said,
“Can you check the spelling?”
I sat on the floor, my back against her bed, and read. I asked for a pencil, and I fixed a couple of spelling errors.
Then I looked at my daughter, and she was watching me intently, her hair in a band that made it look like she had sparkling kitten ears, her index finger in her mouth, nervously chewing on her fingernail.
And as I looked at her, I couldn’t help but realize that her anxious look was exactly how I’d presented myself a million times while showing anyone my early writing, and then waited for some simple kind words of encouragement.
But it seemed like there was more at stake because I was her father, and she was sharing something she cared about with me, and all this “check the spelling” was just a cover.
She wanted me to read her poem.
So I read it again, slowly, and told her I liked this line, and then another, and told her how wonderful the imagery was, and said, “You should write more of these. There’s definitely something special here.”
I tapped the poem with my pencil, and she stopped chewing on her nails and smiled, and then she gave me the most satisfying hug I’d received in recent memory. Then she went back to her desk to work on it some more.
And I must say, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so happy that I stopped just long enough to encourage my daughter.
You can read more from Clint in his book, Father-ish. This recommendation is an affiliate link, so we may earn a small commission should you decide to purchase it. If we’re sharing it, it’s because we think it’s great!