Thursday, November 16, 2006

Third Graders

Yesterday I had the privilege of talking to 60 third graders at a public school in Eugene about What It Is Like To Be a Writer.

My sister in Yemen says that when she is out in a dirty village doing a medical exam on a poor pregnant woman, she has a feeling of "this is what I was created for."

To my surprise, I had the same feeling talking to those third graders. They were attentive, interested, and appreciative. I talked about how God can use the bad things in our lives and turn them into something good. (Yes, I talked about God in a public school and think I managed to do it in a non-offensive way, having learned lots of diplomacy skills from my husband) (But really, how could I talk about my writing journey and not mention God?) I mentioned my name, which I always used to hate, and how I used to think if I wanted to be a writer I would use my middle name, Elaine, because I could never be successful with such a weird first name. And now people come up to me and tell me how lucky I am to have an unusual, memorable name.

I also said I had lots of feelings when I was a child (unlike Paul, who has never had very many feelings) and so I got my feelings hurt a lot and cried a lot when my brothers were mean to me. And now I am a writer and Paul is not. How about that. And all those hurt feelings now help me as a writer because they made me more compassionate and people feel that I understand them.

After my talk the children had way more questions than I had time to answer.

"What is the best thing about being a writer?" they wondered. "Do your hands get sore from typing?" "Do people recognize you in public?" "Are your kids in sports?" "Today is my birthday." "My mom's name is Elaine." "How old are you?"

Ok, so they weren't all questions exactly.

My absolute favorite comment was from the little guy in the second row who seemed small and thin and sensitive. He raised his hand and said:

Quote of the Day:
"I'm like you because I have lots of feelings too, only it's my little brother that's really mean to me and not my big brother."
(I said, "I understand. And you are going to be a very compassionate person when you grow up.)


  1. smiling. way to go dorcas!
    sil geneva

  2. What an awesome gift to give those 3rd graders! I wish in 3rd grade that someone had told me the reason I was such an awful liar and teller of big tales is because there was a writer in me just itching to get out. Instead, I just got in trouble a lot :-)

    I know those 3rd graders must've really loved the time they had with you.

  3. Wow--a very moving post. It really struck a chord with me.

  4. Dorcas, here I am crying away. I'm so glad you could give this gift to them.~ Ilva