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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: See (07/22/10)

TITLE: Show Don't Tell
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


Katie and Abbey went into Grandma’s living room and slumped down on the couch. Katie glanced to make sure Grandma was in the kitchen; then she whispered in her twin’s ear, “How lame is it that Mom and Dad made us come here this weekend? We’re 15 years-old; like we need a babysitter.”

Abbey nodded in agreement. Deep inside, she felt a little relieved that they were here instead of at Casey’s party.

Grandma came in drying her hands on the dish towel. “Why don’t you two go upstairs? I think there are some movies in your mom’s old room.”

Together they clumped up the steps. “I can’t imagine there’s anything exciting in Mom’s room. “ Abbey pushed open the creaky door. “Mom is such a boring adult can you imagine what she was like as a teen?”

Katie laughed and a small snort came out of her nose. “She probably went to church 3 times a week and Bible study on the other nights.” She looked at the bulletin board on the wall.“Can you imagine what it must have been like to have a cop for a father?” Katie pulled down some of the newspaper articles. “They’re about how Grandpa busted drug dealers.”

Abbey was looking at some old VHS tapes under the TV. She discarded several Disney movies, her hand stopped at what was obviously a home movie. “How about watching old home movies of Mom?”

Katie grabbed the tape, put it in the machine and pushed play. The screen flickered then a grainy picture began to show up. Their mother was one of the girls on the corner gathered around a tall man. The deep voice startled the girls. “Come on honey, you know you want to have a good time. I’m here to offer you all of the fun you can stand.”

The twins held their breath as they realized what was unfolding in front of them. They recognized their Mom’s voice; it was pitchy and trembling. “We just want enough for a joint or two.” Suddenly, police lights were flashing on the screen.

In the next scene, the camera was close to Mom. They could see her sobbing in the backseat of a police car. “Please, you can’t take me to jail. My father will kill me if he finds out. Can’t you just let me go with a warning?”

The girls were holding each other’s’ hand, they gulped as they recognized their grandfather entering the scene. He opened up the car door and held his daughter in his arms. There were tears running down his face. “I’m sorry Sharon; I can’t get you out of this mess. You’re going to have to go through processing and court like anybody else. I tried to tell you to stay away from drugs, but you wouldn’t listen.” He slammed the car door as it drove away. The tape ended.

Katie wiped tears from her face. Her voice was hardly more than a whisper, “I can’t believe Mom was going to smoke pot.”

Abbey got up and walked over to the bookcase. She turned so she didn’t have to see the look in her sister’s face. “I can’t believe her own father didn’t get her off.” She ran her hand over the spines of the books. She stopped and pulled out a journal. “Hey, this looks like Mom’s journal. Do you think we should read it?”

Katie grabbed it from her sister’s hand and opened it up. They gulped at the stories that were written in their mother’s handwriting. The diary told tales of drunken parties and the first time Mom tried pot. They turned to the last page. Abby grabbed the book and read aloud.

My Darling Daughters,
I love you so much. I know many of your friends have been experimenting with drugs and that this weekend’s party wasn’t going to be chaperoned. I’ve tried telling you that drugs can only ruin your life. But kids don’t to listen to their parents. I decided I would leave this tape where you would find it. Showing works better than telling, but when you get home we WILL talk. Love, Mom

Katie looked at Abbey, “It’s pretty cool she loves us enough to let us find that tape. I’m so glad we didn’t go to that party.”

Abbey nodded, “Me too, I don’t even care that we have to sit down and talk. I can’t believe we were almost that stupid. Let’s find Grandma. I bet she made cookies.”

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This article has been read 827 times
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Laury Hubrich 08/02/10
Showing does work so much better than telling! I'm curious, though, why that account was videotaped? I'm glad the twins got things figured out when they did. A very smart mom, indeed:)
Terry R A Eissfeldt 08/02/10
So much to expand on here - so much more I want to know - who shot the video? Who was her friend? What did she end up with in the form of consequences etc.....
It's awesome when our kids find our we're just kids who grew up and had kids....
Well done.
Sarah Elisabeth 08/02/10
That got their attention! Sometimes that's what it takes, especially with teenagers. Glad they were wise enough to take it to heart!
AnneRene' Capp08/02/10
This is so originally heart-touching! I was cringing for the mom, while admiring her courage to "show" rather than tell. Loved the atmosphere of being a Grandma's house too. Also, totally understood that it was a sting operation and the father kept a copy for himself. :)
Beth LaBuff 08/02/10
I could vividly see these two as they watched the tape of their mother, and could imagine their surprise. This is an excellent story for the topic. Very nice!
Phee Paradise 08/02/10
So well told, it made me almost wish I had been a bad teen so I could reach my kids that way. I love the way you showed us how Mom now loves the Lord.
Virgil Youngblood 08/02/10
Great job of reminding us that Mom and Dad were once kids too. If you don't know their story and they are still living, ask them, before you can't. You will never regret it and they will likely be delighted in your interest and the memories you stir to life.
Colin Swann08/02/10
A good story with a warning - haven't most families needed ways to keep kid's on the straight and narrow. Thanks for sharing this. Colin
Genia Gilbert08/02/10
Great moral in this story, and well presented. The kids were able to "see" consequences, and that their Mom was human. Also I thank God for parents who will "see" reality and have the courage to deal with it.
Joan Campbell08/02/10
This is wonderfully original. I really liked the fact that the mom was willing to be that vulnerable and open herself up like that. Also, that her father wouldn't let her escape the consequences of her actions. So many great lessons in that - well done Shann!
Carol Penhorwood 08/02/10
Awesome take on this week's topic, Shann. Love the transparency of the mother. She'll have much to say in that talk, won't she? Well done.
harvestgal Ndaguba08/05/10
Awesome job. I also loved the mother's openess to share her mistakes.
AnneRene' Capp08/05/10
Congratulations to you too!!!! On placing in the top 15 of level 3 and the top 40. Way to go!
Nancy Sullivan 08/05/10
An act of great courage of the Mom's part. A powerful lesson for parents. Great one!
Genia Gilbert08/05/10
Congratulations, Shann, on placing in the top 15 in Level 3 and in the top 40. Well deserved!
Patsy Hallum08/12/10
What a great way to teach! I too want to know who shot the video. Keep up the good works and congrats on placing.
Maurice Armstrong10/07/12
As I read through your e mail I kept wondering who is this person that would take the time to invest in another's success. A great philosopher once said "the best thing in life is to pass on to others, what one has learned for oneself"
In my quest I decided to check out the articles you have written to somehow capture the heart of your writing. As I browsed, I came upon Show don't Tell After reading it I was able to grasp the concept you had mentioned in your email.
Thank you so very much.
I got it.
Olawale Ogunsola11/08/12
Truly, you are a master builder. Some hide the truth. Many tell the truth. Few people show the truth. I'm proud of you. Thanks for sharing your time with others.
Your emails are priceless.