A Competition of Words

My daughter wouldn’t say more than four words to me yesterday afternoon. Actually, at one point she said five, but then she had to give herself a demerit in this little notebook she’s been carrying around. And it’s all because of this book by Andrew Clements.

I read NO TALKING to her over Christmas vacation and for some reason, the story really resonated with her. She kept wanting to have a “No Talking” competition with the children in her class, but they didn’t get it. So we loaned the book to her teacher and her teacher read it to the whole class. Yesterday, five of the girls decided to start the competition.

These kids are doing it a bit differently than the book. First off, it’s not girls against boys. According to my daughter, the boys in her class could never take part in this competition because they’re always talking. Secondly, the class is working on a play right now so the girls are allowed to say their lines without those extra words counting against them.

But what I love most about this, is my daughter’s determination to follow through on an idea she discovered in a book. She has influenced the (small) world around herself and changed the course of the next few days (the competition goes until Thursday recess!) because of a concept she thought was cool.

I guess some people could see this as a bad thing, further proof that you need to carefully monitor what your children are reading, especially if they’re easily influenced. I choose to see that my daughter learned about Mahatma Gandhi, the man who practiced silence one day a week to bring order to his mind. And like that great man, she’s learning how to make a difference in her world.

With as few words as possible.

I’m thinking I could actually learn something from this child…

24 thoughts on “A Competition of Words

  1. Last year two of my chattiest boys came back from music class and handed me notes saying they were doing the same thing. Of course, they'd both read Andrew Clements.

    Have you read Frindle? We took it on CD over Thanksgiving break, and I have to say, it made me cry.

    Clements's work really resonates with kids (and this big kid, too!).

  2. Thanks for the book rec. I love reading books that your kids enjoyed since our kids are similar ages. I also love that it stayed with them!
    My kids play the no talking game at dinner sometimes. 🙂 After this book, I wonder if it will extend to other periods of the day!

  3. We can't monitor everything, and if we try, we lose out and make our kids lose out on the wonderful stuff we haven't read yet, but that they discover! Yay for your daughter. Have you guys read Frindle? 🙂

  4. PJ: Cool, huh?

    Shelley: Sometimes silence is bliss 🙂

    Caroline: We haven't read Frindle yet, but Jasmine definitely wants to read more of his books.

    Stina: 😀 Thanks!

    Kristi: It's fun to watch, isn't it?

    Kelly: My son was actually annoyed with the way the book was written (which cracked me up!) but J really connected to the story.

    Susan: This was our first Clements book, but I'm sure it won't be our last!

    Becky: I don't have time to monitor all their books. They read a ton and I'm happy for it. And thanks!

    Laura: Even if she doesn't win, she's having a blast doing it and I love that she got her classmates into it.

    Shannon: So does Jasmine!

  5. This is absolutely lovely! I think it's wonderful that your daughter is reading and changing her little world because of what she reads – and it's a good change, it seems. She's making a difference to herself and others and bringing awareness to light. It's great!

  6. I haven't read this yet. But it sounds fascinating. And dude, my daughter would fail epically at this. She can't be quiet for more than 5 seconds. Not sure where she got her gab from… *whistles innocently*

    And great new blog layout!

  7. I totally forgot about this book! Now I'll have to see what my daughters think…will they do this? will they survive the silence?

    Your daughter's will is strong. Tell her I'm cheering her on. Love this!

  8. Hey! That's a great story! I remember when I read Judy Blume, I started a club with my girlfriends called the PTS (pre teen sensations) Yes, easily influenced, but very cool they're reading.

  9. I love this and I love Andrew Clements. I've read Frindle to younger kids who adored it and one of my all-time favorites is Things Not Seen. Best book ever! I'm so glad that your daughter was inspired by something in a book. Isn't that exactly what we want???

  10. I have to get this book…I swore off the bookstore until I have read everything I've already purchased, but this book and your story will cause me to break my (self-imposed) rule….I'm sending myself an email with the title, so I don't forget…

  11. When I saw that book cover, my first thought was “I bet the author is a parent who just needed some silence!” Still–very cool result, and what a leader you have in your daughter!

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