First-Grade Philosophy

I had the absolute joy of speaking to 24 first graders this week about the writing process. Our talk centered around the fine art of revision, and how important it is to the quality of our work. The early learners were eager to point out mistakes, chime in details to add, and cut out ones that didn’t sound right. This innocent visit to the world of six-year olds encouraged me to reflect on how in life we also need to take the time to revise ourselves, too.

When writing, the first thing the kids enjoyed pointing out were the mistakes. The spelling, grammar and capitalization were all corrected easily. Similarly, whether we recognize it or not, daily we make errors in our choices, our words, and our attitudes. Sometimes we know right away and feel tremendous remorse. Other times, we couldn’t have predicted how our choice would pan out. Gradually, we also can slip into habits that snowball into something we end up completely overwhelmed by. Recognizing those things in hindsight can help us fix the future choices we make, words we say, and how we react to unpredictable circumstances.

Secondly, the kids enjoyed adding in descriptive details to make our story more interesting. Life sometimes feels like an endless laundry pile, dishwasher load, and cooking cycle. We need a little excitement at times to keep the monotony of routine from flooding our entire existence. Sometimes simply talking in person, instead of a text message, can really change our perspective by getting to the heart with someone, instead of just getting to the point.

Thirdly, we worked on removing words from our work that didn’t help our story. In literature, not everything we could put in our work is worth taking up space. In life, the demands for our focus are ever increasing, and we are wise to acknowledge that our time is precious. Saying “no,” even to good things, is a challenge at times, but worth it when it allows you to prioritize the valuable relationships in your life.

Lastly, the students wanted to brainstorm a title for our writing. I explained the title is what grabs a reader in, and usually reflects what topic is most important in a piece of writing. But our existence here too has a title, and stopping to imagine what the headline of your story would read can be a rather perplexing thought.

We may rather not admit what today’s title might say, but thankfully we have many chapters to fill. Highs and lows dot the pages of our journey, but we have the ability to color the overall theme to be one we can be proud of. Triumphing over adversity, loving others fully, and beating the odds can be a part of every person’s narrative. We may need to revise our lives to achieve that and editing can be painful. In the critic’s review after the last page is written though, the changes we make will be worth it.

About Heidi Morris

Rochester Hills mom of three. Loves life, loves family, loves to share new and interesting things with everyone. Contact her today at [email protected]

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