A good kind of exhausted.

Nephews are awesome . . . nieces too.

Today my nephew Zach came by again for help on on his English paper. Since I have no plans for kids of my own, visits like these are pretty much the extent of my paternal contributions to the world. Fortunately, I have the time to help him right now.

Hard work, but not for everyone.

Zach tried college once before a couple of years ago but wasn’t really ready for it then. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief on his high school graduation day — ADHD has made learning tough for him. A couple of years landscaping and busing tables in a local fish camp made him think pretty seriously about going back to school to pursue his dreams.

This is the effect of writing assignments on college freshmen with ADHD.

During his first semester’s writing, the assignments were all about extracting the main points from selections in a very boring textbook, constructing dry theses, and regurgitating even more lifeless essays into being. I could have easily written his papers for him, but then Zach wouldn’t have learned a damned thing. Instead, I settled in with him for the long-haul and taught him the routine. Together we have slogged through note-taking, summarizing, re-stating, organizing, synthesizing, drafting, editing and lots of repeating.

Coachable moments.

This time around my nephew knows that there’s a process to writing. He doesn't have the same deer-in-the-headlights look mostly because the writing topics are wide-open and there’s no reading comprehension involved. Every thought and word he writes is supposed to come from his own ideas. As he writes about coaching his basketball team, I point out the coincidence that I’m also his coach — in writing.

What? She wants what? You’re kidding me, right?

However . . . it wasn’t exactly what Zach’s instructor really wanted, at least according to the helpful lady at the writing center. Since I can’t go to class with him, I must rely of my nephew’s occasionally incomplete understanding of his assignments. This morning, we got some clarification.

Grow little one, grow!

This little story has taken me less than hour to tap out — edits, photos and all and telling this tale was relaxing for me. Zach will likely laugh when he reads that part — writing as relaxation.

I wish I could make writing as simple and effortless for my nephew as it is for me. Although he’ll likely never compose the great American novel, I believe if we can get him through this term, Zach’s writing skills will be enough for him to survive.

At last!

I know I’ll experience a vicarious thrill next week when Zach struts in, head held high, his grade “A” paper in hand. When he walks across the stage to pick up his associate’s degree in a couple of years, I expect to be even more thrilled.

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Juxtaposeur, technical analyst, process engineer, poet wordsmith, INTJ, Anansi, MBTI certified practitioner & team-builder, certifiable fabulist & Uppity Queer™

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Eric Griggs

Juxtaposeur, technical analyst, process engineer, poet wordsmith, INTJ, Anansi, MBTI certified practitioner & team-builder, certifiable fabulist & Uppity Queer™