Monthly Archives: March 2014

Thoughts On Children and Secrets, Part 2

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I care deeply about all children.  Yesterday I mentioned that I’m not a parent or a teacher, but today I’d like to mention that as someone who cares deeply about children, I still have strong ideas about how to raise and teach them.  That’s one of the reasons I want to be a children’s author.  That’s also why I’d like to share these thoughts with people who have more experience with children than I do and see what their thoughts are.  If you are a parent or a teacher, please tell me your thoughts.  If you’re not a parent or teacher, please still tell me your thoughts, because I’d like to hear from everybody!

Yesterday I talked about one of the reasons secrets can be problematic for children, which is that children often treat secrets as a form of passing the torch.  Another reason is that secrets can be scary.  I think most children get scared when someone tells them not to repeat something to anyone else.  This is true even when there is nothing scary about the secret itself.  If somebody tells a child not to tell somebody something, whether it’s another child or an adult, chances are the child will get scared.  A little bit of getting scared is okay for a child, as long as it’s the right kind.  When I say the right kind, I’m talking about scary things in movies, books, TV shows, and of course on Halloween.  Fear of keeping a secret is the wrong kind of getting scared for a child, one that should be avoided.  That’s why adults should never tell children to keep secrets.  It’s also why a very important part of stranger danger is teaching children not to keep secrets from their parents, especially if someone tells them to.  I would even argue that this is why children should be discouraged from telling each other secrets.  How parents and teachers can prevent this is difficult to suggest.  My best advice is to tell a child that if another child tells him or her to keep a secret, he/she should be honest with the other child and say he/she can’t keep a secret.  This would allow the child wanting to tell the secret to decide whether or not he/she wants to tell his/her friend something he/she may want to keep private.

Thoughts On Children and Secrets, Part 1

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This is today’s writing exercise response.  It was inspired by a freewrite on the word “secrets,” which in turn is one of many prompts suggested by “Story Sparkers: A Creativity Guide for Children’s Writers” by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones, authors of the popular Bailey School Kids’ Club series.  This is Part 1, and I will post Part 2 tomorrow.

This response has some of the same sentiment as yesterday’s post about a TV free childhood.  It talks about both oral storytelling and what I feel is important in raising and teaching children, oral storytelling being one of those things.  I am not a parent or a teacher, so these views could be completely wrong in the eyes of people who have more experience with children.  I’d understand if that’s the case, and I’m encouraging parents and teachers to tell me their thoughts on this post and the “TV Free Childhood” post.  I look forward to seeing their responses as well as anyone else’s.

I believe secrets should not be as common as they currently are among children.  Secrets can be very problematic, especially since they are hard to keep.  Most children want to tell a secret as soon as someone else tells them one.  Maybe this is because they think of secrets as a game of telephone, or as a form of passing the torch.  After all, there are many instances where children are encouraged to pass on what they are given to someone else.  Think about those days in preschool, when you were asked to pass a special toy around and look at it.  Or how about when people tell each other stories?  When you hear a good story, you tell it to someone else.  In olden times, that was how stories got spread around and changed, an important thing to remember when teaching children the joys of old-fashioned storytelling.  Another thing children are encouraged to this with is advice.  When someone gives a child good advice, they are encouraged to tell someone else the same thing.  Many children do this on their own.  That’s why you’ll see children teaching their baby dolls how to go potty, or telling them not to spit.  They may also try to teach their younger siblings things they learned in school, and maybe sometimes read them books their have parents read to them.  These are all forms of passing the torch, and children are big fans of it.  I think that’s one reason children like to tell secrets and thus shouldn’t be trusted with them.

TV Free Childhood

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This is a response to an exercise that can be found at http://www.build-creative-writing-ideas.com/free-creative-writing-prompts-technology.html.  It is Technology Exercise #2.

If television and movies were never invented, my family and I would have spent the evenings of my childhood telling stories, reading books, playing make believe games, and sometimes going to the theater.  We did all of those already, so this would not have changed our family dynamic that much.  What would have changed our family dynamic is putting on shows for each other; puppet shows and one or two person shows.  That would have made us more open and comfortable about interacting with each other.  This is probably wishful thinking; it was not because of TV that my parents divorced, but anything that helps with open communication would have at least made them more likely to stay together.  That’s part of the reason I think activities like this are important for families today, even, and perhaps especially, with movies and TV.

Spring Colors

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This is a response to an exercise that can be found at http://www.build-creative-writing-ideas.com/free-creative-writing-prompts-spring.html.  It is Bryan Cohen’s Spring exercise #5.

In a meadow with green everywhere and occasional splashes of brightly colored flowers, I close my eyes and breathe in.  Rebirth goes through my mind.  Renewal goes through my mind.  New beginnings go through my mind.  Purification goes through my mind.Pale green is the color I see most with my eyes open.  It is the color of Spring; the color of rebirth, renewal, and new beginnings.  As I said, all the other colors come in splashes.  Splashes of clear, purifying rainwater; rainwater that cleans away all the messes left behind by the last three seasons, rainwater that sometimes leaves a rainbow in the sky, adding more splashes of color.  Spring is not the season, however, where there is a rainbow all the time.  That would be autumn.  Spring is pale green, with splashes of clear water and rainbows made by the rain, the sunlight, and of course the flowers.

Building and Freshening Device

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This is a response to an exercise that can be found at http://www.build-creative-writing-ideas.com/free-creative-writing-prompts-science-fiction.html.  It is Bryan Cohen’s Science Fiction Exercise #3.  As my response touches upon briefly, I got the idea while brainstorming futuristic fairy tale retellings.

            In a world greatly enhanced by new technologies, which are being developed every day, I have come up with a world-changing device.  It is a strengthening machine that can make any given material suitable for architecture.  This device would change life as we know it because it would allow us to use all our trash to build houses out of, thus making landfills unnecessary.  It would also allow us to spend less money as well as less non-renewable resources on building our houses.  We can even build houses out of food, an idea I got from “Hansel and Gretel.”  Some of the newer versions of this device even have mechanisms that keep food edible in  making it strong building material.  These versions of my device can be used to make rotten food fresh again as well as keep food fresh.  In this way, my device can also help end world hunger.