Friday, March 16, 2012

Something Remembered

In the process of ordering a birthday present for a certain young man (keep that quiet, though) I recalled something.

It's from a few years back. Sage had fallen in love with Naomi Novik's Temeraire books from listening to the first couple on audio. Later, he picked up a copy of the third book at the library, anxious to read it himself. He got home and dashed up to his room, book in hand, ready for some dragon action.

Time passes.

I go up to his room at some point, and find him in bed, red-faced and teary. Crying.

It took me a little while to get out of him what was wrong. It was that he couldn't yet read the book himself. The sentences were too long, vocabulary above his reading level, words too small on the massmarket pages.

Much hugs ensued. My boy, brought to tears because a book he so wanted to read was, at that point, hard for him.

I've been there too. Haven't we all?

I don't mind saying that he chews through big books now with nary a tear. Times change. Kids grow.

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Anonymous Ethan Iktho said...

"I've been there too. haven't we all?"

Well, not me.

I remember, when I was about 8, being punished (and severely) by my father because I read Jules Vernes's stories by tochlight under the sheets of my bed, after 9 PM during the week.

I think it's quite different. Your son is lucky, and I guess he will make the better out of his talents. But not all people had the same chances at the beginning.

So : no, we haven't be all there, and that is precisely the main question.

Don't you think so ?

5:31 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Oh, I guess I mean two things by that "I've been there too. Haven't we all?"

Personally, I had a difficult time learning to read. It was hard for me as a young child, and then as a teenager I had a lot of catching up to do. Ultimately, I came to love reading, and my early struggles with it are part of that.

More generally, though, I don't limit the "I've been there too" just to reading. It can be anything that overwhelms someone. Anything that you so really, really want to be good at, but find it initially hard when your abilities aren't up to your expectations.

Skiing anyone? I had big dreams of carving down the slopes, up until the first time I actually went skiing. The reality of my first day on skis was nothing like what I imagined. I ended up on a stretcher, with a fracture, undiagnosed torn cartilage, and about six months of recovery.

I never got back on the slopes.

5:19 AM  

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