6“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
7“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
8“You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
9“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Now, of course, this is talking about the Word of God– His commands for His people. However, I’ve found that this works for most subjects in our educational process. Something happened recently that made me think of this. Andra has a unique way of telling a story. It’s nearly all dialogue. She’ll start telling me about a conversation with a friend and it’ll sound something like this:
“We were talking and I said ‘Where’d you get that?”
“Oh, my mom bought it for me at a garage sale.”
“Oh, really, that’s really neat. I wonder if I can find one in the store.”
“Probably not. Mom said they’ve been out of stores for years.”
“Oh, drat. I’d like to find one. If she sees one at a garage sale, would you ask her to get one for me?”
“Sure! I know she’d love to.”
And that’s it. There’s the story. Exactly as told. By the third sentence, it’s hard to tell who is and isn’t speaking anymore. If she were writing a book, the reader would go INSANE. I’m not sure when this started, but I noticed it a few months ago and kept my mouth shut. Then, after a few long, frustrating months, I decided to show her how she should tell a story so that others don’t get frustrated and confused. I confess, at first it was about my sanity. It drove me crazy to hear her tell any story that had any dialogue in it at all.
She’s a smart little thing. In just a week or two, and after only a few reminders, she’s pretty much cured of the habit, and her storytelling ability seems to naturally have improved. If she can write as she speaks now, she’d have a great writing ability. Even if she can’t, she’s been taught not to drone on and on without giving the reader a hint of who is speaking. The only thing worse than that would be every line having the person’s name tacked on after, “Said.” UGH.
I was thinking about this later and realized, she got quite a lesson in just a few lines of instruction on how to tell a story. I bet it took me less than three minutes to show her the difference, but she learned it well, painlessly, and if we can translate it into writing, it’ll be a huge lesson that she learned while I browned the ground beef. Not too shabby.
“As you walk by the way, as you lie down, as you rise up, as you brown the ground beef…”