Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Auld Lang Syne: A Third Grader’s Reflections and Resolutions

Caleb, my fearless, dirt under his fingernails, eccentric eight year old was asked to write an essay responding to the prompt, “Ring out the Old and Ring in the New!” The prompt asked him to write about his three favorite experiences in the last year and about three things he hoped would happen in 2011. I’m sharing it with his permission. He was quite proud that I thought his essay worthy of posting on the blog. He feels “published” now.

“Pssst! Would you like to hear my writing prompt? It’s about the three things that I loved about the past year and three things I hope will come in 2011! Wait! You have to hear this for yourself!

The first thing that happened in 2010 is that our family decided to adopt a child from South Africa. His name is Duzi. He fits right into our family! So, if you haven’t adopted yet, it’s hard but fun. So, why don’t you give it a try?

The second thing that happened in 2010 is that the USA troops stationed in Iraq were sent home! I think that is important because they fought in wars for our country. So, we should honor them. Let’s get a move on!

Did you hear about the earthquake in Haiti? Well, my aunt Kristen and her family were trying to adopt a boy named Kembe but, then she was trapped in Haiti with Kembe! So, we did everything in our power to help her and Kember get home. But, thankfully, they are home now!

What I hope happens in 2011: I hope that Haiti gets cleaned up and people are all right. I also hope for world peace. Because, I want no war, no violence – so people can live their lives better and not have to think of safety. I also want to help my church as a New Year’s resolution and get baptized so I can have a career as a pastor like my dad.

Did you like my writing prompt?  Well, I did! So, now you know my writing prompt.”

Notice his nice paragraph structure and proper punctuation (the English teacher in me places a high value on these things).

One always hopes they are parenting well. One always hopes that their kids are really absorbing the important things, really internalizing compassion and kindness. This little writing prompt was a gift to me because Caleb, like most 8 year old boys I know, can be quite the antagonizer in our house. He gives me a run for my money just about every day.  When I lay down at night, I often pray, “Lord, give me patience,” and it’s primarily Caleb that I need it for. I'll not go into the big fit he threw while working on the final draft of this essay.

But, this prompt gives me a window into his heart and I really, really love what I see. The wisdom of calling adoption “hard but, fun” amazed me along with how he beseeched others to also adopt. I had no idea that he was paying attention to the fact that US troops were sent home from Iraq. Looks like I’ll keep listening to NPR in the car. And, with the anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti coming up, he’s recalling how scared we were for Aunt Kristen, her baby, Karis, and son, Kembe.  I love his goals – he might end up being a little bit let down by the lofty World Peace one but, I’m not going to crush his spirit just yet.

I’d say this kid is paying attention and I’m so relieved. Tonight, when he fights me about doing his homework, going to bed, or melts down about something random, I’m going to relax and remember how important it is to keep my eyes on the big picture.


  1. Love "So, why don't you give it a try?"

  2. He even had a hook at the beginning, topic sentences, calls to action, and a conclusion! As a fellow English lover, I am so proud.

  3. Such a courageous and passionate heart - and a nice essay too!


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