Writing isn’t something that I ever thought I would enjoy. I was just a sub-par English student throughout my school years. Grammar was always my kryptonite it seemed, and so it is kind of ironic that I enjoy composing these articles.
I do not claim them to be grammatically correct, but I still enjoy writing them all the same. There is a certain person who has completely taken a liking to them. So much so that he has read every one of them and even hung a few of them up in his room. He has been waiting for me to mention him in an article as I have included several family members in my stories. His patience is wearing thin.
My avid reader mentioned above is my third child. His name is Will, and he has a unique and special gift of loving to read. I can read a page in a book and get to the end and not even be able to tell you the point. I believe in school they called this comprehension. I am terrible at it… “squirrel!” (I hope you got that reference)
Will is 13 years old and he has always been a kid with a passion for things. He took it upon himself to learn all of the presidents, and not only that, but all of the spouses as well. At one point, he could even tell you who the president was the year you were born. All of this from reading. He has now developed a love of cooking. He has combed my Mom’s cookbooks and recipes, because the only way to cook is Gma’s way.
One day it became apparent that Will had a gift, and that most certainly didn’t come from yours truly. We were sitting around the supper table as a family and were talking together as we were eating supper that evening. Somehow the topic of conversation branched out to ice cream and ice cream cones. Out of the blue, Will made a statement that the first waffle cone started at a county fair in the early 1900s. He went on to tell us that the ice cream stand ran out of cones and improvised by using a waffle from the booth beside him. I stopped eating and looked over the table toward my wife with a dumbfounded look on my face — was it true? How did he know that? So, I did what all intelligent fathers would do, and I secretly, under the table, Googled the waffle cone. Don’t judge. I know you are doing it right now as you read this article.
Long story short, it was true. But where did my 8-year-old son learn such a trivial fact? Yep, you guessed it. He read it in a book that he was reading about Abraham Lincoln, and he retained that knowledge. Will has read more books in his short 13 years of life than I have in my entire 43 years of life. His favorite books to read so far are a series that he has purchased himself entitled “The Land of Stories” by Chris Colfer.
Will has become my history and political companion. He attends most of my political functions with me, he has assisted putting together a PowerPoint presentation I have given on the recorder’s office, and he always wants to attend any history functions that I attend. One of his favorite things that he has done with me was attending the celebration of McClain High School in Greenfield. He absolutely loved that historic building and its artistic history.
I can hardly remember being a 13-year-old boy, but what I do remember involved riding my bike, helping on the farm when I was able, riding on tractors, and playing ball. My life seemed far different than that of my children. Their childhoods have been different than that of my own. But have they really been that different?
My wife and I have taken on the task of raising our children within a structured family unit, where faith in God, and a deep respect for the human race, along with a passion for family and friends, is a must have virtue. We have fallen short at times, but as our parents did before us, we strive for our children to be better than we are. I believe what is different with their formidable years has been the availability for learning. I can remember we had a set of encyclopedias and a two-book dictionary that we were just amazed at as children. Now, my children have a device in their hand that they can look up any fact within seconds or travel to any destination on their computer with the touch of a mouse. Technology has allowed our world to be a society with instant gratification and caused a severe lack of patience.
So, as I write this article, I applaud Will for his patience on this article. May his thirst for knowledge never cease and may one day he look back on this story and say, “That was my Dad.” It only took him two years to write a story about me, but he finally came through. As the old saying goes, “All good things come to those who wait.”
Push your kids to read. Spend the time to sit down with them and read stories to them while they are young, and for goodness sake spend some time at the dinner table talking about waffle cones and Honest Abe.
I guess I should enjoy this time. Will is 13 and still likes me (most of the time). Give him another year or so and these articles will embarrass him. Until then, read on Will.
Chad McConnaughey is the Highland County recorder.