I watch my nine year old son lean over his journal, pencil in hand, creating another story. He struggles in school. He gets pulled for extra reading support three times a week, and he hates every minute of it. He often asks me to write him a note to get him out of his reading support. Yet, he will write for hours on end, creating, revising, rewriting. I will remind him to do his reading, to put down his pencil and pick up a book. He looks me square in the eye and says, “Mommy, I’m a writer not a reader. Why can’t everyone understand that?” I stare at him and wonder, when did he label himself? It makes me realize the labels I have put on myself. How can I be a good mother and teacher if I don’t recognize the limits I have created.
This is my first entry inspired by the amazing teachers with whom I have had the pleasure of working. This blog all happened so suddenly on a Friday morning at a teacher’s professional development. As I was setting up this blog, the voice in my head kept saying, “Stop! What are you doing? People may actually read this!” I have been thinking of doing this for a while, but that voice always had an excuse. Busy teacher, busy mother of two, busy wife. Busy, busy, busy. But, in reality it is fear. Fear of telling my story, writing out my thoughts for others to see. The label I put on myself is that I’m not a good enough writer. Even as I revise this piece I am fighting my self-imposed restrictions, questioning if I should even post this piece.
If my son is a writer, not a reader, I am a reader, not a writer. I love to read and get lost in an author’s world-leaving my busy self behind, and escaping to the writer’s words and messages. It has always made me feel I could never control words to create that for others. Then I look at my son. Reading as always been trying to him, but he would always write. I’m realizing now he escapes to his own world. Writing words he can read and comprehend. Stories filled with humor he enjoys. He has control.
The labels he and I are putting on ourselves are because of our fear of failure. Like mother, like son I guess. Control freaks all the way. However, I want more for him than his seeing himself simply as a “writer and not a reader.” I have to break out of my own box, and show more of myself, so he can do the same. We both need to stop living in fear. So, that’s why I am going to be a reader that also writes, in hopes that he can see he is so much more than he knows.