My nine-year-old son Timothy has struggled with his penmanship since he started to write and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better. He is now in fourth grade and they are beginning to write in cursive which is difficult for him because he hasn’t mastered writing in print yet. He still writes some letters backwards, some letters will be larger than others and he won’t stay on the line. I guess it didn’t help that he broke his arm towards the end of the last school year and didn’t have to write the rest of the year or all summer.
I get so frustrated seeing him write and feel like I’m always so critical of his penmanship. I’m constantly on him to practice when all he wants to do is play outside with his friends. My husband Eddie writes extremely neat. His writing looks like typed words. My other son Nick inherited his writing from Dad. Nick loves to draw and is very detailed oriented so he tends to take his time when he writes and can do so very neatly. He’s slow but very neat. My penmanship is okay. I tend to want to write as fast as I think so I tend to get a bit sloppy but it’s still legible.
Incidentally, I came across something in the garage this past weekend that made me eat crow. I was going through the bins and came across a sheet of notebook paper in a plastic sheet. When I first glanced it over it looked like it might be Timothy’s writing, so I took a closer look to see why I had saved what appeared to be a short essay. Ahem, it was mine. My aunt had given this to me a long time ago and I guess I just stashed it away and forgot about it. It was an essay I had written when I was nine, Timothy’s age, about how much I loved my mother.
I read the essay written by me so many years ago in penmanship that bore a striking resemblance to Timothy’s and felt convicted for all the criticism I’ve laid on him over his penmanship since school started. Looks like I owe a certain nine-year-old an apology but most important—grace; grace that was bestowed upon me as a child because I certainly don’t recall anyone ever being so critical about my penmanship.
It’s mind-boggling to think that an essay I wrote when I was the same age as Timothy would surface at just the right time to open my eyes to my deviant behavior, my relentless criticism towards my child. I’m almost sure that nine-year-old me had no clue that the essay she was writing to her mom about love would someday surface to compel her forty-two-year-old self to bestow grace on her future son.