When my son Bill started school, he entered first grade with a teacher who ended up fired as she was an alcoholic. Not a good start, but it made it logical that he had trouble reading. As he progressed through the grades, the reading was slow in coming. It wasn’t until 5th grade that they had name for his problem- dyslexia. That explained the backward letters and numbers and all the difficulties he had reading. His 5th grade reading teacher told him one day… it was all my fault, meaning his mom. I asked what she meant, and he said that Mrs. McCormick said that when he was born, I had connected the green wire to the red wire.

1-14380033It may sound funny, but it did solve the problem. He was not the dumbest kid in the class, he just had to reconnect the wires. And he did. In 6th grade there was a book his classmates raved about and he was determined to read it. He did, and moved steadily forward from there.

While he struggled in the lower grades, and having no knowledge about dyslexia, I bought him car and airplane model kits, thinking he would read (or have to read) the instructions. He would show me, in record time, the plane or car assembled. Sometimes there were parts left over and he would say “I didn’t read the destructions. I have no idea what they are for.” Needless to say “destructions” has been the family word for instructions ever since.

I am reminded of this today as I try and piece a quilt. I have been asked a few times to make a sample quilt for a local quilt shop. I am given the fabric and the instructions and I set to work. Since this is a project a patron of the shop is supposed to want to buy, I must truly follow the in(de)structions. It has been an education for me. I can see the graph, I can read the cutting plan. There are times the instructions are clear and simple. Viola… a quilt top. Today it is another matter.
There is a graph, and the cutting plan and elsewhere there is another cutting plan. Very confusing… These are truly “destructions”.

Maybe I need to reconnect the red and green wires. Maybe I need to write the company and tell them to clean up their destructions. Maybe I am dyslexic as well, though I don’t recall learning to read at grade school was a problem. I do know I am right brained. Maybe that’s the problem. I love to look at quilt designs and try and figure out how to make the design without destructions.

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6 Responses to De-structions

  1. Great post. Personally, I agree with your son – all written instructions are destructions, usually of your peace of mind.

  2. Jaana says:

    Wonderful post. Real problem and how to live with it. When there are no easy solutions, you have to do what works.

  3. newtreemom says:

    “Destructions”- love it!

  4. I’m always amazed at how well kids know themselves!

  5. Donna Smith says:

    That story sounds so familiar. I have a grown son with dyslexia. I’m glad you didn’t just take offense that the teacher said this was your fault. It is nice when the pressure of thinking this is something they could have fixed is gone. Of course, neither could you – you didn’t do it either. But when they see that it isn’t their fault, they are freed up to make the best of all they have and can do – which is pretty incredible stuff! Imagine being able to do the models without instructions. Mine built huge Lego models without pesky instructions. The instructions truly are destructions to them!

  6. First, I have never seen a set of clear “destructions.” Second, sometimes following instructions in life keep us away from following our innate talents. There’s a lesson for all types of readers here. Thanks for sharing your connections.

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