Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Persuasive Essay

Hot enough for you out there? It was hot enough for my 9 year old today, hot enough to want to wear shorts to school. This is a topic that comes up every year, of course, usually in May or June and then again in the fall. We have a clear, well-understood policy on shorts to school: if it's above 70 degrees before we leave for school, shorts are fine. Otherwise, shorts are not fine. End of subject.

It's worth noting that I am not known among my children for my desire to negotiate with them about anything. If I err, it tends to be on the rigid side. So I was not at all prepared to entertain conversation about the shorts issue. However, somehow, the 9 year old got to me. Not that I wanted to debate this issue with him. But there was a part of me, the part that had looked at online weather reports and knew that is was going to be above 80 degrees (!!!!!) before the day was out, that was willing to consider letting the kid wear shorts.

At dinner last night, when Leo attempted yet another one of his countless verbal assaults on the shorts policy, the solution came to me. He had to write his way toward a policy change - specifically, a several-paragraph persuasive essay. I let him know that when he produced a credible essay, I would consider his arguments. Here's what was waiting for me this morning:
Why I Should Wear Shorts: It Is Getting Hotter
Mom, in the morning here this time, it's in the 60s. And it gets hotter near recess time and wearing pants is uncomfortable. And it gets you even hotter than normal. And when I have gym, you get even hotter then when you're outside.
Because of this reason that I told, how it will get hotter and then I will be too hot, you should let me wear shorts. Today, it's 61 degrees outside, same as yesterday, and it got hotter then, and the weather report says it's going to be 77 degrees today, so I really want to wear shorts.
His writing fell short of what I thought the standard should be, but not too bad for a first draft, and yes, I was persuaded and he was delighted. Perhaps we can use the time we had spent dealing with the shorts issue in better ways, such as fun mom-son bonding over clarifying first-perosn vs third-person pronoun usage. Good times! Or maybe we'll just put on shorts, pretend that writing skills, parental consistency, and global warming don't really matter, and go play in the sunshine.

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