Luke and I are more similar that you might think.
When I was in third grade, I brought home my first report card and it reflected a very bad report in one aspect of my education --- handwriting. I had received a 'P' in handwriting. 'P' stands for "poor." There is only one step below a 'P' and that was a 'U' for "unacceptable." I have to admit that receiving a 'P' was devastating. I was crushed, embarrassed, and effectively belittled. It was not a surprise that my mom also found this report card unacceptable and my punishment was that I had to copy out of the bible until my handwriting improved. That's right, folks -- out of the Bible -- the very big, very intimidating Bible. I remember dejectedly sitting down at our formal dining room table and begrudgingly copying from the Book of Genesis. Let me assure you that my family, while churchgoers, did not study the bible. I don't think I knew we even had a copy. While I resentfully complained about my punishment, I remember my mom telling me to cheer up. She said, "Just think, when you're done with this you'll have your very own copy of the bible!" I perked up a bit thinking that I would be rewarded with a brand new bible if my handwriting improved. I said, "Really?!" She chucked and said, "Yes, you'll have written your own copy!" My heart fell along with my fleetingly good attitude, and I settled into copying the bible. In spite of my very bad mood, it worked. And thanks to my Mom's creative punishment, I continue to receive compliments about my handwriting to this day.
Well friends, history repeats itself. Luke received an 'N' in handwriting this last six weeks. 'N' stands for "Needs Improvement." There is only one classification below an 'N' and I think that is a 'U' for "Unacceptable" - just like my school days. So, effectively, Luke has earned his very own 'P' in handwriting, just like his mother. I told him this story and then went on to explain that his punishment would be the same as my own. His response to the fact that he would have to copy out of the bible was confusion as he asked incredulously, "We have a bible?!" I rolled my eyes, and wryly responded, "Of course we have a bible." I looked at him in exasperation. I'm not saying we study the bible like some families, but we talk about it, go to church, and say our prayers every evening. It's not like we're complete heathens. Geez. Anyway, he responded in awe and asked, "Mom? I didn't know you were a priest!" I rolled my eyes even more this time. Good heavens, his view on religion is massively skewed. I went on to explain that lots of people have bibles and anyone that wants one can have one. I went on to say that you don't have to be a priest to have a bible. (By the way, they have multiple copies of various children's bibles, so I'm not sure where this confusion arises. Plus, the first thing the kids do at a hotel is pull out the Gideon bible in the bedside table and look at it in awe.)
So, I pulled our bible off the shelf, dusted it off just a little, and sat Luke down at the dining room table to begin copying from Genesis. I mean, it makes sense to start at the beginning, right? I indicated that he would have to copy three paragraphs in his best handwriting. I instructed him that he only had to copy from the Bible like this every night until his handwriting improved. He huffed, he puffed, he groaned, he whimpered, he sighed, he stalled, he hated, he grumbled, and he cried (just a little) for the next thirty minutes as he worked at copying just the first paragraph of the bible. One paragraph. That's it, folks. One, darn, blessed, paragraph of the bible. For Pete's sake! I sat next to him through the entire episode. I encouraged, threatened, domineered, complimented, sighed, growled, corrected, and almost cried in frustration as Luke proceeded to copy only one paragraph of the bible in the slowest possible manner and with very poor handwriting. And so we will continue . . . every night . . . until his handwriting improves.
Oh, this wonderful, frustrating child! It sure is a good thing I love him so much!