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.