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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

One area that The Mercenary has had trouble with for years is his penmanship. His printing is downright illegible (thus qualifying him for a medical career, no?) and it’s because of bad habits. When he slows down and takes his time, it’s very easy to read. Most times though, my little speed demon is just flying on through and the scrawl gets pretty bad.

Disclaimer: I’ve made it clear to the boys that I don’t really care about perfection when it comes to their writing. I honestly don’t believe they’ll be doing much of it by the time they’re adults, what with voice-activated software and the availability of keyboards everywhere. As long as I can read it, I have no quibbles with them about penmanship.

The Mercenary’s writing is so bad though, that he’ll have to work through a remedial book this year. Most of his problem is caused by bad habits, and some practice would solve enough of the problem to make his printing legible. Interestingly his cursive is very nice, but he really resists doing that because it takes him too long.

I’ve been telling the boys for some time that we’re going to have to use cursive in spelling at least, just for practice. Plus it’s difficult to grade a test when the letters are so poorly formed that I can’t tell what they are, so using cursive would help.

Yesterday morning, he started scrawling his spelling so badly that I couldn’t make out the letters and I said, “That’s it. You’re going to have to write in cursive.”

He was not pleased.

He started to have a fit like the ones we’ve seen in the past, complete with pounding fist on the table and tears when I spoke sharply and told him to stop it. I pointed out that he’s had months of warning and that honestly the situation is his responsibility in the first place. Way back in first and second grade I tried to tell him that he was forming his letters wrong and that it would make life harder later on. Well, now we’re at the later on.

He thought about storming off to his room, but after some more monologue from me about being a big kid and taking responsibility for the situation even though it really was no fun he sat back down.

And then, Internets, he wrote in cursive.


After the lesson was done I gave him a hug and told him how proud I was that he stuck with it instead of quitting. His comment: “I must have learned that in football. When I wanted to stop and said my leg hurt, the coach told me to keep going. So I did.”

You may recall that I was very apprehensive about putting the boys in football. The season ended last week and both Hubby and I have been very pleased with how much the boys have grown physically and emotionally over the past few months. They learned some great lessons about not quitting just because it was a little difficult or uncomfortable.

And my boy didn’t quit when I challenged him to write in cursive.

So thanks, Coach Connelly, Coach Nash, Coach Patrick, and Coach Vickery. I know you don’t always get to see the impact you have on the kids you deal with.

Trust me…you made a difference.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their children to write neatly.