I learned a long time ago to tread softly when editing the kiddos’ writing. Whether it's a thesis statement, a report or a closing argument for mock trial, which was the case this morning, I'm quick to remember less is far more in terms of red slashes where my son is concerned. Planting red on the page too quickly will most likely lead to missing a larger connection a sentence or two down the road. He's a storyteller and he tends to write like he speaks.
On the way to school this morning the kiddo asked if he could read his closing argument for mock trial and while I wasn’t armed with my trusty red Bic, of course I said yes and was pleased to hear a very well written, concise, on point summation of his defense. But one word stuck out and as he began to discuss the summation in greater detail, I found myself unable to concentrate on what he was saying because I was still back there, in the third to last sentence of his writing, kicking around that word—coherent (able to speak clearly and be understood). I was certain based on what he was trying to convey that his word choice was off.
I shared my honest opinion, which was overall quite favorable, and asked if he would please go back and reread the sentence containing the word coherent. When he looked at me and grinned, I knew I had him.
“Something’s a little off there, isn’t it?” He asked.
“I think you meant cohesive (united and working together effectively),” I offered.
“That’s exactly what I meant!” He beamed. “Isn’t that the way of life? So often we mean one thing yet we say another.”
Do we ever, sweetie. Do we ever.