Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge. I am happy to co-host this event with the team at Two Writing Teachers. Everyone is welcome!
When my two older daughters were 4 and 2-- maybe 5 and 3-- their uncle gave them both gift cards to Toys-R-Us. You would think that would have been a huge it. For Larkin, it was. She went straight to the Polly Pocket aisle, picked out a set, and was ready to head to the register. Julia on the other hand went up and down the aisles. All the aisles. And then needed to go up and down them again. After about a hundred hours, we left the store with Larkin's Polly Pockets and Julia's full-value gift card.
Today, about eighteen years later, I was reminded of this experience. We traumatized Julia by asking her to pick up some coffee pods at the mall. The five ounce ones, we said. Not flavored. Robust. The decision making process reared its ugly head for Julia, as it frequently does, and she sent us a few pictures to make sure she was getting the right one.
Just as Larkin remains true to her toy store tendency of making up her mind and not second-guessing or looking back, Julia weighs options, makes pro-con lists, and interviews anyone she can when faced with a decision. Larkin could face a thousand options, make a selection, and get to work; for her, choices are empowering and inspiring. Choices torment Julia, and the more there are, the more difficult it is for her to get started since she spends so much time in the decision-making part of the process.
What occurred to me as my husband and I were walking and laughing at the pictures we were receiving of coffee pods from Julia, is how I think about choice for students. I have always emphasized the importance of choice, but thinking about my two daughters makes me pause a little. Thinking about it, some of my toughest posts to get started are the ones where I can't decide what to write about, not because I have nothing, but more because I have too much. I wonder about how this plays out for students in writing classrooms. Anyone?
As for Julia and her purchases, she eventually gave me the gift card, and she still gives me many of her gift cards when she receives them as presents. The coffee she picked out was fine!