Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Point of Pencils

I like finding multiple pencils in every room of my house, on our driveway, all over the car, in the garage and in the yard.  I have a reason and even a point, but would rather have a little fun first.  Whenever I need one, I can always find one, even when I want to jot down some profound thought while I am walking from the driveway to the garage.  However, sometimes I may only remotely recognize the long skinny piece of wood as a pencil.  The once smooth hexagonal object, most likely, has had a sad, arduous existence. If you should spot one in the crevices about my home, it will look as if termites relished their snack time or as if it has been run over by a truck or lawnmower somehow.

So if you are lucky enough to recover one when in need of scrawling, TOO BAD if you make a mistake because there is never an eraser atop the piece of wood covered lead. Depending on whether you bought the hundred for a dime at the back to school sale in  August or splurged and purchased the self proclaimed, “best pencil ever”, the Ticonderoga, the erasers either snap off on the second attempt of erasing or the kids have a flashback of the comfort of teething squishy objects and its little useful rubber cap is gone leaving the scratchy metal tip which is bound to destroy recycled math sheets everywhere.

As for the other end, how I wish I had purchased a hand crank sharpener!  The grinding and vibration of the electric sharpener’s motor is just way too intriguing.  Its diet of wood shavings come in large and extended servings so a brand new pencil comes out looking like a precarious dart ready to put out an eye or puncture epidermis.  The good news is the needle nose isn’t dangerous for long because as soon as it hits the paper at a pressure capable of etching stone-- and it will--- it needs sharpening, or grinding again.

Well, if my kids find one that is in working condition-- with half of an eraser, a place to grip that won’t fill their fingers with splinters, and a point that writes, we have yet another mountain to climb.

The challenge seems to be, for them, just keeping it in their fingers or even simply, on their desk.  There are a few things awry here.  If you are seriously leaned over your work, pencil clenched as your brain cranks out answers to math problems or the next letter of your spelling word, HOW does your pencil fall out of your hand?  Exactly.  For a pencil to hit the floor, there has been some daydreaming happening,  maybe some hair twirling, or some foul play performed in place of the discovery of the sum, difference, product, quotient or the next phonogram.

To complicate matters, at our house during school hours, NOTHING is done quickly.  No one, under ten, understands the concept of “hurry”. (or does “efficiently” sound better, more spiritual?)  When a pencil is dropped, it may be five whole minutes before another brilliant mark is made with that pencil.  Getting out of one’s chair gives way to all sorts of distractions-- the need to go to the bathroom, the 2 mm wide Lego piece that had been missing since last summer, yesterday’s line time pretzels, earring backs, money dropped from Saxon’s “morning meeting”, hair clips, the desperate need for water, other long lost pencils sharpened to a nub, and a reason to find me to report to me what all has been resurrected.

 So, yes, I just wrote an entire page on pencils.  I love pencils.  I prefer them slick and lean, new ones, but will use them splintery and just about used up.  Imperfect as they may be, found in the oddest places, they are now a reminder of how I spend most of my hours these days, the stage my kids are in and what the Lord has led me to do.  Each day is different, some with hints of perfections, some with missing parts, some with painful splinters.... on our road to sanctification.  Together.  Using pencils.


Alyssa said...

I've been a Paper*Mate Sharpwriter #2 mechanical pencil gal for years. But your post took me back to those elementary school years of never being able to get a pencil sharp or to keep it sharp for long and not liking a pencil when it got shorter than about 5 inches! Save those eraser-less pencils, those come in handy for Number Sense (when all calculations have to be performed without erasing). ~ The Math Nerd

Sarah said...

Great writing, Krista! I've always been more of a pen girl myself, but pencils are okay too.