Let’s do some time-traveling … imagine that you are once again only three feet tall.
There might be a few other people in your life that are about the same size as you, but probably not many and perhaps none at all. Most of the people around you are much bigger than you. And they control EVERYTHING ... including YOU.
Those big people decide where you will live. They decide when and what you will eat. They decide when you will sleep and when you will get up. Once you’re awake, they select the clothing you’ll wear, and they decide where you will go and what you’ll do when you get there.
Most of the time you are eating, wearing clothes, going places and doing things that were chosen for you, and overall you’re satisfied with the choices. But even if you aren't, you’ll probably discover that protesting is futile.
Sometimes you’ll step out to make your own choices about eating, clothing, going places and doing things, only to find out that your choices get overridden by the bigger people. You most likely won’t understand, even if you ask and even if they tell you. Again, protesting is futile.
Your first few years will be spent at home, but one day when you’re big enough and old enough, you’ll get up one morning to find yourself being carted off to a building full of rooms, which are full of other people who are your same size.
Depending on your own personal temperament, a whole room filled with your three-foot peers can be daunting, exhilarating or terrifying. Sometimes all at once. But it’s irrelevant, because in a room full of three-footers there’s always one or two of the bigger people who are controlling them and you. It seems that the bigger people are always in control, whether or not they are outnumbered.
Before, your daily itinerary consisted of sleeping and playing. You’ll still be sleeping and playing when at home, but now play time gets interrupted so you can go to this new place, where, for the next 12+ years, the bigger people will be controlling and orchestrating a whole new element in your life … work!
Work consists of all the stuff you need to learn: reading and writing and history and math and science and life skills, like how to communicate well and being responsible and accountable, etc. As you work, learn, grow and mature, you will take on more and more responsibility for yourself. You’ll learn how to make wise decisions, because you’ll learn about good and bad consequences that result from good and bad decisions. Little by little you will grow from being a three-footer to being the big person who’s choosing and making decisions for the three-footers under your charge … and the cycle will begin all over again …
And that brings us back to the present – home from our little trip into the past – and you’re not a three-footer anymore.
Maybe you’re currently raising some of your own three-footers. Or maybe you’ve already done your job and they’ve grown up and moved out and are starting to raise their own. Maybe you never had any at all … it doesn’t matter.
If you’re writing and drawing for children … you’ve got them. And you are just another one of those big people directing and leading them in growing and learning. Maybe not directly, but in very important ways where you can absolutely have an impact.
Writing and drawing for children presents unique challenges not present with other genres … let’s dive into that this month …