My twelve-year-old daughter and my seven-year-old son came to work with me today. The summer holidays have just begun for them, and my husband and I will be performing daytime caregiver duties on an alternating basis until the end of this week. What to do? What to do?
I explained to the kids that they would have very little to do in my small office environment and that they had two choices. They could read, or they could watch one Christian, princess and/or superhero children’s DVD after another. You can probably guess which of those activities they picked.
After about an hour, though, my son, Ian, came to ask for paper and a pencil. He had become bored and wanted to write. Ian, you see, L O V E S to write about E V E R Y T H I N G. We discovered his burgeoning gift for prose early in the school year when his second grade teacher brought it to our attention. She’d been calling upon him to read his engaging narratives to the entire class on a constant basis and wondered if we’d ever noticed how perceptive and mature his tales had become.
I must confess that we’d barely skimmed his stories up to that time. We’ve known that Ian was gifted since his pre-school years and have learned to take his intellectual prowess for granted. It’s come as no surprise therefore, that – in the ensuing months – Ian has become quite the scribe. His inspired anecdotes are laced with fantasy, tinged with sweetness, and infused with child-like passion; and, because he is seven, there are pictures – lots and lots of pictures.
Ian weaves singularly imaginative yarns. Some revolve around encounters at school, others recount incessant quarrels with his sister, and still others illustrate an admirable commitment to live a Christ-like life. We cherish them all just as any loving parent would.
A short while ago, Ian returned to show me that he’d completed the first “chapter” of his “book.” The chapter amounted to little more than a paragraph, but he’d managed to squeeze an entire story – a solid beginning, middle and end – into that paragraph. I imagine his book will be comprised of an infinite number of clever, inventive short stories. Oh – and there will be a book – unless he lays it aside before his scheduled trip to California. Ian is just the tiniest bit compulsive about anything that interests him intellectually.
This past weekend, my son and I engaged in a fascinating conversation about plot, structure, story arc, character motivation, etc. While reading his first “chapter,” I realized he’d internalized much of what I’d said and that he’d incorporated what he’d learned into a brief, humorous narrative. I marveled that – even at such a young age – he’d demonstrated a commitment to hone his craft.
My seven-year-old challenged me today in his own adorable, inimitable way. I found myself thinking, “When I grow up, I want to be just like Ian – the consummate storyteller.”
How about you? Who or what has challenged you to new heights recently – whether in your writing, in your work, or in your Christian walk? Share your story below.