Why does writing matter, Mom?

Yes! Writing matters--because the freedom to think and persuade will always matter.

By Daniella Dautrich

DO your efforts to teach writing feel like an ongoing tragedy (or comedy)? Perhaps you slog through the lessons and tell the kids it’s important, when you’ve never cared much for writing yourself. Now they look at you with that awful question on the tip of their tongues:

Why does writing matter, Mom?

If you’re not quite sure how to answer them, it may help to remember this: to teach writing is to set a mind free. When you press on week after week, you help preserve the freedom to think and critique—the liberty to spread ideas and inspire hope.

The goal of education is true understanding. Hearing and reading add up to half of the equation. Writing makes up the other half.

  • Once we’ve heard or read something, writing lets us reflect and respond.
  • Memory drills rehearse facts; writing lets us compare those bits of information, see distinctions, and form judgments.
  • Culture bombards young people with cookie-cutter thoughts; writing helps them form their own ideas, shaping them into something orderly and beautiful.

When you teach your kids to write, you give them the power to share their own experiences and to persuade others. These tools will become invaluable as they step into their adult roles in the world.

Words from the Pulpit

If your son is called into ministry one day, he may find himself speaking to an audience every week. While sermons begin with prayer and study, they take their full shape on paper. The writing skills your kids learn today—such as brainstorming, research, and organization—could have profound impact on future generations. Well-crafted words can live in the minds and hearts of the listener longer than we might imagine.

Blogging with Purpose

When your daughter marries, she may choose to embrace the high calling of stay-at-home-mom. In this role, giving and receiving support from like-minded women is essential! Teach her writing and blogging skills today, and she will carry the ability to connect with other moms (and perhaps earn a side income) wherever she goes.

Proper grammar and spelling, practiced in your homeschool day after day, can become badges of credibility in public forums like blogs. Clear, concise writing can engage new readers in fresh ways through blogs about family life, homemaking, or homeschooling. Take advantage of opportunities today to prepare your daughter for a writing outlet in the future.

Spreading a Message

At some point, your grown children may feel drawn to work or volunteer in the nonprofit sector or political realm. Who knows? Perhaps your one of your kids will run for a local office or start a nonprofit organization!

From candidates to interns, spokespersons to secretaries, the visionaries who staff political offices, think tanks, and charities all rely on writing skills. Proofreading an editorial or article? Fine-tuning a ballot statement? Mass-mailing a fundraising letter? It’s time to roll out your revision toolkit! Self-editing (and editing other people’s writing) is perhaps the most important real-world writing skill.

I hope you’re encouraged as you consider ways your children will write in the future. Next week, we’ll look at more unexpected careers that involve writing!

Photo: Kathleen Franklin, courtesy of Creative Commons
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