Please forgive my grammar!


If you’ve been a reader of mine for any time, you’ve likely noticed that I occasionally have a few grammar or spelling issues.  Normally, they aren’t as blaring as being right in the subject header like my recent post, “How Effective is the Internet at Spending the Gospel” where I clearly meant to type “Spreading”; however, each post is likely good for at least one error.

Unfortunately, some view this as my being “unprofessional” and that I’m simply hurrying through my writing and posting.  Some time ago, I had someone make some pretty serious judgments against me sighting an example where in the first sentence of an email I made a blaring error.  What they didn’t understand is my “hurrying through” could be further from the truth.  As always, I have a story to tell as it relates.

When I was younger, some folks were attempting to label me as “learning disabled”.  In 2nd grade, I was taken out of class and placed in remedial reading.  Unfortunately, I somehow missed being taught phonics in my younger years.  Thus, I was always lagging a bit behind on my reading and writing skills.  Unfortunately, somewhat like Forest Gump, while people likely weren’t directly saying it, internally what I heard people saying was I was “stupid”.  As you might imagine, I had a bit of anxiety around reading and spelling related tasks.

By my Sophomore year of high school, there was enough concern by my English teacher that she expressed concern over my taking college prep English.  She just didn’t think I could keep up with the rest of the kids.  As you might imagine, my mom wasn’t going to stand for that; so, she took me to be tested.  To highlight what a significant issue this is in my life, I still have the test results in my safe at home for which I’ve pulled out to write today’s blog post.  The following is an except from these test results.

According to the results of the WISC-R, Chris is currently functioning with the average range of intelligence.  Chris exhibits good organizational abilities and makes excellent use of abstract reasoning skills, but he may be somewhat rigid in his problem-solving style.  Chris demonstrates good concentration abilities, particularly with material presented auditorily.  A slightly lower score on the Picture Completion subtest may indicate Chris has some difficulty focusing in on details which can also be evidenced in his phonics skills as applied to reading.  Vocabulary, which appears to be one of Chris’ weaker areas, has a probable influence on his reading comprehension level.

Chris’ academic achievement level is consistent with his measured cognitive skill level.  He demonstrates competence in areas pertaining to mathematics, more so when presented orally or in linguistic format, than when presented in a numerical format on paper.  Chris exhibits difficulty decoding words.  He tends to skip over and use a word configuration approach, probably due to knowledge deficiencies in relation to phonics rules.  This weakness in phonics carries over heavily into the spelling area which evidences to be Chris’ weakest area.  Even with decoding difficulties, Chris is able to adequately comprehend what he reads at a Grade 9 instructional level, chiefly due to cues gained from the context around words he cannot decode or understand.  Chris demonstrates adequate knowledge in the English grammar area.  His paragraph contained appropriate capitalization and punctuation and followed a logical narration progression.

With the results of this testing, I was allowed to stay on track with college prep English.  However, the challenges didn’t stop at that point.  When it came time to be admitted to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, one of the nations top Engineering schools, it would be my SAT vocabulary scores that nearly prevented my being admitted.  I could share numerous stories of things I’ve done to compensate for this bit of a challenge over time.  One of which earlier in life was to read as little as possible has I simply didn’t enjoy it and it frustrated me.

So, going back briefly to the test results, what my brain has trained itself to do over the course of 46 years is use a word configuration approach.  I don’t necessarily read every single word in the manner most do.  For example, to you “spending” and “spreading” the Gospel are as clear as black and white; however, until someone pointed it out to me, I’d read this likely over 20 times without seeing it myself.  To compensate, rather than “hurry through” as some perceive, I audibly read and re-read much of my writings multiple times prior to publishing or sending.  Yet, again, I’ll emphasize, “spending” versus “spreading” being missed likely over 20+ times is simply one example.

Also, because of this, you’ll find I rarely read aloud to others.  Because I’m reading in a word configuration approach, my reading aloud is very choppy.  When not reading aloud, it doesn’t sound this way to me internally as my brain has had so many years of compensating.  Also, one might think I have comprehension issues; however, like the test result shared years ago, I really don’t.  In fact, it’s become kind of a good thing as I likely speed read more so than most in some contexts.

Some may say, “Chris, why don’t you get an editor?”  Well, maybe some day I will and from time to time my wife serves in this role.  If I’m being candid, it’s somewhat influenced by the fact that I believe God has uniquely created me and this is simply a part of my story.  Like Moses arguing with God about his speech, I’ve had my share of discussions with God about my writing.

Not long ago, I received the following text from my sister:

“Just thought I’d share I’ve had at least 5 folks stop and tell me they loved your dad post – fantastically written!  And thought provoking!!! Love you!  So much for being “learning disabled” – huh – this should be a lesson to many (heart).”

I really think the heart of today’s post is captured in this text.  I’m really not looking to make excuses or seek self pity.  More so, what I’m attempting to relate is God has uniquely created each and every one of us.  Time and time again, I see God using “perceived deficiencies” in the lives of His people for the good of His Kingdom.  I’m humbled to have him use my “perceived deficiencies” in writing in such a manner to encourage others.  As a testament to Him and give some prospective, I have thousands of unique visitors to my blog every year which doubled last year alone.  I now regularly receive encouragement from others following nearly every post.

So, what is it you’re telling God you can’t do because you lack?  Where have you wrestled greatly with what other people think about you?  It could be that this is a part of your story that God wants to redeem and use for His Glory!  And, may today be a testament to exactly that, His Glory!

2 responses to “Please forgive my grammar!”

  1. Ruth says:

    Chris, I am in the writing and editing business and would like to say that your writing is very thoughtful and inspirational. However, even the best writers (and I have worked with thousands) need another set of eyes on their work. Please contact me for suggestions.

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