A three-year old child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six-dollar set of swings as it does out of finding a small green worm.” (Bill Vaughn)
Part of my writing discipline includes jotting down things children say. They are a great source of inspiration, humor, and wisdom. When you explain something to a child, it makes it even to yourself no matter if it is a plot point or a car engine. Clarifying it in simple terms makes it more interesting to everyone. Children ask questions; they inquire. They savor the moment of here and now, not worrying about the future or what might take place next. That’s why children make great writing partners because they have wonderful imaginations.
Children are Unique
Children come up with a unique ability to come up with colorful and sometimes weird names for their pets – like chocolate, brownie, and bead-o. They possess wonder memories like one of my grandsons who knows all the school bus numbers of his friends. My best friend’s grandson can recite the presidents of the United States in order.
Children are Honest
A downside perhaps is that children are painfully honest, guileless, and maybe the most innocent opinion you can get. That old saw ‘don’t ask if you don’t want to know’ applies. Children will exacerbate your patience but if you hang out with one long enough you will find out an amazing amount of information that little sponge has absorbed.
Children have a sense of Wonder
Rachel Carson encourages: If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the job, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”
Youth have a natural sense of wonder. It is our duty as writers to foster that. If you are fortunate to have children like me, you have access to a child that you can partner with. If not, borrow one.
Because somewhere in our growing up, we lose delight in living, wonder, and awe, so we must nurture it in others. As a bona fide card carrying, grandmother I have a sworn and solemn duty to uphold silliness in any form, nurture expression, and encourage love of language. Gore Vidal suggested, “Never have children, only grandchildren.” Perhaps he got it right.