Mark, you are awesome! Okay, These past few days, I’ve been paddled back and forth by “words” like paddles flipping a pinball on a pinball machine. You may think it strange, but I was enjoying the game; however, the game was suspended when my children, Carter and Ammon (boy and girl twins respectively) were sick with a weird respiratory virus, and we had a pinball “time-out”. Since the beginning of May, Ammon, Carter, and I have been promoting my latest book, Parenting Strategies on the Go (www.parentingstrategiesonthego.com). It was a self –publishing project, and I am very proud of it. If you all are wondering, yes, it does have errors that I didn’t “catch”. However, in close to 200 pages, I’ve only caught about 5 errors ( I should have used Mark and Word Refiner). Errors aside, my children and I were on local programming on our NBC affiliate helping parents choose souvenirs (summer vacation, you know!) as teaching tools (Chapter 4). All three of us had to be succinct and articulate during our interpersonal interview with the television hostess. Next, we had a book signing at the Barnes and Noble in Chattanooga. We had a wonderful time. All three of us had to speak to guests while signing books. I thought we did well in our verbal interactions.
Immediately following the book signing, Carter became ill. Sadly, both children took turns with their viruses, and in between trying to write this blog, a Southeast Tennessee magazine, The Tennessee Valley Parents Magazine wrote to me asking to complete a Question & Answer article regarding fatherhood and our Parenting Strategies on the Go. The columnist’s deadline was quickly approaching, so I answered the questions with haste. I thought my verbal-linguistic, written answers complemented and completed the answers with great grammar and punctuation. The columnist did not send anything back for me to edit or correct!
Okay, back to Ammon and Carter after their tummy aches and fevers: the pinball machine of “words” began batting the pinball again. We took a weekend trip to see family in Montgomery, Alabama. As we were speaking with some friends, Carter and I were engaged in conversation with two adults. Carter was speaking with Brian about video games, and he was having a great, adult conversation. Mary Kay, Brian’s mother-in-law, leaned forward and said, “He is so confident and succinct in what he is saying. He has no problem communicating what he is feeling.” I followed up with, “Thank you, he does have a gift for interpersonal communications.” Less than 24 hours later, we were back home, in our regular homeschooling routine, and doing our spelling. I had been disappointed with myself that I was about 4 days late getting this blog to Mark; however, we had missed so much school the previous week due to the virus and Carter and Ammon needed to settle back into their routine. During their spelling, they had to read several sentences and correct/edit sentences and tell whether the errors were 1) Spelling errors, 2) Capitalization errors, or 3) Punctuation errors. At the end of her correcting/editing, Ammon exclaimed, “That was great, and kind of easy!” During his spelling corrections, Carter exclaimed, “Well, anyone would know what the sentence is saying even with the errors.” I was stunned by his insightful comment. I tried to quickly gather my wits, and I returned with, “Yes, son, but if a writer wants to be taken seriously as an educated person who can validate or prove his literacy (being able to read and write) they need to spell and punctuate correctly.” Carter felt satisfied and concretely surrendered to my explanation with, “I agree.” And that was it. I thought to myself, “I’ve got to convey these word editing conversations with Mark for our blogs.” Folks, being literate, correcting, and editing is not intrinsic or genetic. It is environmental. People may be born with an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of 150, but if there is no one to teach them to be literate, they will not be able to communicate 100% effectively. Editors help people communicate more effectively.
I’ve had my share of writing and editing words. I have an Educational Doctorate in Instructional Leadership, and I have taught for over 27 years: From kindergarten to graduate school. My other degrees include Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction, a Master of Education in Social Studies Education, and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Studies Education. I am bilingual with Spanish, and I am also a beginning, functional communicator in German. I love words in English, Spanish, and German. I also want to communicate effectively in all three languages.
Now, the pinball game of “words” comes to an end with some inspirational words:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (a) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
When I was 16 years old, I knew I had a gift for writing, but there was absolutely no one to help me nurture and perfect that gift. All I had on my mind was either being an accountant or an educator. By 1989, the educator career had won. In the autumn of 2008, God blessed me with my beautiful children, Carter and Ammon, and it changed my life forever. By 2010, God guided me back to a “writing season”, and I was and still am grateful. I know God expects me to communicate effectively as I write, and I know it’s my responsibility to teach my children to communicate effectively as they learn to write. I truly believe that here in the middle of 2016, I’m doing a pretty darn good job on both fronts! Oh, perhaps Mark will allow Carter, Ammon, and me to return this Christmas season to help promote the children’s picture book, Christmas Hawk (www.christmashawk.com), that Carter and Ammon helped me create.
God bless you all, and until the next time….keep on writing!