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Posts Tagged ‘(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quote’

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­C­­­­orrection does much, but encouragement does more. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) 

“I have to read to a grownup for homework,” Rebe says. Her sister, grandfather, and the television create a distraction so we go to the computer-toy room, door closed, her idea. She lies across a pillow on the floor and I sit on the rug. She can’t see my smile as I revel in her first-grade-cadence: the words she amazingly sounds out, and the ones I’m surprised she misses. To me the particulars are not as important as the privilege of hearing her enter the world of books.

I stroke her hair. It’s thick, wavy, a dark red, but it isn’t any physical feature I’m admiring. I relax in this grandma-granddaughter moment.

“You have to sign this paper and write how I did when I’m finished,” she tells me.

At my granddaughter’s age I read extremely well. However, I doubt that I would have been open enough to encourage anyone to write a solitary word of criticism about my performance. First-grade Terry wasn’t that secure.

Of course I also remember being on my own most of the time, too, as far as achievement or anything else was concerned. My parents were too busy with their own chores, with staying out of debt, with the day-to-day struggles of existence. Perhaps that was the way of the times. Children were meant to be seen and not heard.

I loved my maternal grandmother and was absolutely certain she loved me. She made an aqua dress in my size based on a design I’d drawn and then left lying around. The dress was a surprise, created without a special occasion. However, snuggling and compliments, sharing of our ideas and lives rarely happened.

My granddaughters and I have options. We pretend, swim, crack eggs for breakfast and jokes on the way home from school. When the playground isn’t crowded I have even been known to climb next to Rebe on sturdy equipment. I think about that as I watch her close one thin book and open another. She is doing well. Perfect isn’t necessary—not the way I thought it needed to be more than a generation ago.

“I’m proud of you, Rebe,” I say. And I hope she knows those are not cut-and-paste words suited for any occasion. A forehead kiss serves as a kind of softened exclamation point, something like interpreting expression in dialogue, the kind the reader needs to discover—learn as she goes and grows.

 raise words not voice Optimism Revolution

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