Monday, August 6, 2012

Persuasive Writing in the Real World

I debated about adding this to my blog, but then I decided it's too fun not to. My son sent this letter to me while the BHW (Best Husband in the World) and I were on our second honeymoon in England this summer. My oldest daughter was in charge, and he didn't want to go on a youth activity he had signed up for. She told him he would have to convince his Dad and me to say he didn't have to go. So...he wrote this letter to us.

I've been through a lot of camping and outdoorsy stuff throughout my life. Sometimes it's really fun and a good experience, other times it only serves to be a stressful and unsatisfying experience devoid of any fun or enjoyment. This year's youth conference would not be one that I would enjoy. 

First of all, I've been having a hard time sleeping this week, and it's hard enough to sleep in a tent already. I would have to spend 2 nights in an uncomfortable position for around 8-10 hours while staring at the ceiling of my tent. I'd be very tired all throughout the day with the sun bearing down on me. 

Second, while I can wear white shirts for about 3-4 hours, after a while it becomes unbearable. White shirts make me sweat. Badly. Short sleeved shirts are bearable but having to walk around with a white sleeve shirt all day without changing clothes would be torture. 

Third and probably most important, there's no real reward behind doing any of this, at least not that I'm interested in. In other campouts you get to hike to the top of a mountain, explore a narrow submerged canyon, or find a waterfall. In this campout you just wander around on a patch of dirt and meet people that don't even matter to you because you'll hardly ever see them again because you go to a different school. If I wanted to have fun with other people on a campout I'd rather have it be spontaneous and unorganized so you can actually hang out instead of doing things like "square dancing." The only thing that this trek promises is that it will "build character," which seems to be tagged on to anything that is either boring, painful, or uncomfortable. If I wanted more character, it seems like I'd get it just as easily by putting my hand on a hot stove, locking myself in a box for 24 hours, or pouring citrus into my eyes. 

I'm doing something that I normally wouldn't do (writing a 5 paragraph essay) in order to illustrate how much I think it would be a bad idea for me to go, so don't shrug this email off. I'll look forward to your response.

Well, after reading (and laughing) the BHW and I came up with this response:

I've been through a lot of experiences in my life, too, and I can tell you that often those that don't seem like they will be a lot of fun are usually the ones that end up teaching me the best lessons. I think a lot of it has to do with attitude. 

You may not know this, but there is a chemical in your body called melatonin that helps tell your body when to go to sleep. Your body releases melatonin when you've been up for about 16 hours, when it gets dark, and especially when you have a set time to go to bed every night. That's why it's so important for you and your health to get a healthy 8-10 hours of sleep from 10-11 PM on every night. If not, you are messing with your body's natural melatonin cycle, and that's not good. Just something to keep in mind. 

Sweat is never fun at the best of times. I used to sweat so much that I started using a special kind of deodorant that keeps me from sweating at all. Period. If you are interested, you may want to ask me about it. 

I think that hiking and trekking and even square dancing can be very fun, but it is always more fun when you are doing it with friends. Are you still planning on doing the Camp Halfblood with Chandler? When is all that happening? 

In short, I am okay with you not going on the trek. I am not okay with you sleeping your summer away and sleeping through church. Do you think you could try to clean up some of those bad habits that you've got yourself into? And, if you are not going on the trek, can you please call your leaders and let them know? Also, you should have your sister Megan write us a five paragraph essay and tell us how her job search is coming. If it is anywhere near as entertaining as yours is, I'm sure it will be the highlight of our day. 

Love, Mom with Dad's approval


Ms. H said...

An excellent example of why persuasive writing needs to be a key focus in every classroom! Thanks for sharing.

Mr. B said...

Very entertaining. And educational.