I’m going to be vulnerable with you for a few minutes:
It’s been a rough year with my oldest.
Personality clashes, hormone flares, emotional meltdowns, character issues. Probably pretty equally on both our parts.
Have I mentioned that raising adolescents can be tough?
I asked him if I could share that, and he said I could.
And I say this to let you know that we’re human, with human struggles.
The decisions are endless, and seem to have no easy answers. I hinted about the quandary in this post. How much do we expect our “square peg” children to fit in a round hole? When is it a character or training issue and when should we change our expectations?
I don’t know.
I’m reminded of this article about the best-selling teenage author Christopher Paolini. In the article, his mother talks about his education saying, “Little did I know that when Christopher was daydreaming out the window—and not finishing his math problems—he was dreaming of battling evil sorcerers and flying on dragons, dreams that would form the basis of his first book, Eragon.”
I’m not saying I have the next Christopher Paolini on my hands, not at all, but what do you do when your child would rather be thinking or writing about dragons than finishing his math? What do you do when it is a great struggle for him to bend his brain to focus on math? Even if he has the reward of free time at the end of it?
She does say in the very next paragraph: “Sometimes our children balked at lessons and we had a clash of wills. At those crucial points, Kenneth and I gave our children a choice: we told them that by law they had to attend school, but it was their decision where they would do this. They could do the assigned homeschool lessons or Dad would drive them to the local school, where they would do the work those teachers assigned. Ultimately, they always chose to homeschool, but not without a grumble here and there.”
And so we press on, but not without a grumble here and there. [wry grin] And I try to remember that learning to read was a painful process to go through with Levi, but now he can read 1,000 pages a day. So there’s that.
Maybe it is that I fear the regrets of hindsight, and I don’t want to destroy our relationship.
But I can’t live in fear. At some point I have to walk in faith here.
Levi has asked that I share with you all the very rough draft of the beginning of the story he is writing, and I told him that I would be glad to. So this is in part a preface.
Keep in mind that writing assignments are painfully completed (or not, as the case may be) by this son. Painful execution. Painful style. IEW was a battle. Even the creative assignments.
But when he is supposed to be completing a math assignment?
Following is the first installment. I’ve edited his random capitalization and punctuation and reformatted the paragraphs. All other content is his spontaneous creativity.
Copyright 2015 by Levi Scovel
A Chronicle of the Apprenticeship and Adulthood of a Young Ranger
It was a dark and stormy night, a night to stay indoors, a night of fear and woe, yet there was a young man out in the blackness, struggling against the wind and snow. His name was Canth; he was the new apprentice in the Menagerie, the place where Her Majesty's royal trackers and scouts were trained.
He had been told it was a honor for him, a castle ward, to be selected for such a prestigious apprenticeship. The selection had taken place on a fair morning. He had been roused from sleep and instructed to change into a brown and green tunic and elegant but sturdy brown pants, and to venture to the Apprenticeship Hall. He had stood in line, shortest to tallest; being the tallest ward he was the last. Then he listened to all the wards receive their apprenticeships.
The first was a young girl who was very lively and fast. "Rhuinnion Green?" questioned the Chancellor.
"Yes, my lord?"
"Have you a wish to be apprenticed to a certain master or mistress?" the Chancellor asked Rhuinnion.
"My lord, I wish to be apprenticed in the courtier class," she announced with a curtsey.
"That is a fine choice," the Chancellor cried! "What say you Ariana?"
"I have seen all I would wish in a Courtier! She is polite and could outpace a centaur!" Ariana replied courteously.
"Ah, Young Tucker is next, do I speak rightly young sir?" The Chancellor requested that Tucker step forward.
"My lord, I am Tucker Nightengale."
"Ah, so I spoke rightly. Well young man, have you a request as to your apprenticeship?"
"Why, yes I do, my lord," Tucker proclaimed somewhat quietly. "My request is to be in the Mage Archen!" he happily announced.
"Well, my boy, may you be delighted to learn that Cobalion of the Mages Archen accepts you!" announced the Mage. "Tis such a rare thing when a boy shows so much talent for Ice that we will accept them if they but ask!" Cobalion pronounced. Tucker blushed. "I have seen him summon an eagle of flawless pure turquoise Ice that can mentally communicate and fly better than a natural bird! This boy will learn many secrets and may succeed me as the Master of the Mages Archen!
“I now will announce a grand thing! I am decided to adopt Tucker as my son and heir! Chancellor, do I have your acceptance of this?"
The Chancellor replied wisely, "You have my Acceptance for this is a thing of wonder, but I must warn you that Tucker must accept your offer as well, or his magical power may be lessened by shock!"
"Tucker?" queried Cobalion.
"Yes, I will accept your offers. I accept both of them!" Tucker cried, and he walked from the room with Cobalion following.
Cobalion returned presently with Tucker beside him in his new Apprentice of the Archen robes. More apprenticeships were confirmed. Some were what the teens had hoped for, others were not, but equally accepted by the teen who had been given a different apprenticeship.
After the last of the ten young wards had received their apprenticeships, it was Canth's turn. He asked if he could become a swordsman. He was turned down; Baron Egan was not accepting apprenticeships now, for he had already received three this morn. Horse school was close to sword school, but they had filled their ranks with new apprentices previously and would not take another. Everywhere he turned there was only despair. Finally he asked if he might join the Rangers. This was the place. He was received! He could not believe his fortune. The only discomfort was that he knew that he would not be training nearby. Sadly he must venture north to the Hold of Gorain, where there was a magical gate that would send him to his training place. He had spent the last thirteen years in the royal castle of the newly crowned Queen Simylene, and rued that he had had to leave the beauteous palace.
Canth’s recent memory faded and he returned to the present. Smurph, smurph in the snow went his boots as he stumbled into the hold from which he would depart to his place of training.
[To be continued…]