Once upon a time, I wrote sentences like this to start my stories:
“Hi, I am a duck.”
The title of my story was aptly and creatively named “My Duck Story.”
Don’t ask me why I was writing about me being a duck when I was six. Some girls wanted to live in a world of horses (*cough*My Little Pony*cough*) or be fashion-obsessed blondes (*cough*Let’s talk about my opinions of Barbie*cough*). I apparently wanted to be a duck. I’m happy to announce that my disregard for social norms regarding the female gender is still alive today.
Once upon a time, I also wrote things like this:
“If I lived in the ocean I would probably not be able to breathe.”
That gem went on to explain how the fish would probably think I wanted to eat them but I would build a house and everything would be a-ok again. Unlike the old adage, however, my knack for science did not get better with age.
Looking back at these pieces of writing as a junior in college studying journalism, who just successfully completed her first internship, I’m slightly surprised that my parents didn’t quietly take away all writing utensils I owned and shuffle me off into a love for history or something that would do less damage to my self-esteem 14 years later.
But they let me stick with it and let’s just chalk this one up to why parents should just let their kids be kids and not freak out about whether they’re living up to their “full potential” and all of that at six.
So go. Encourage your kids. Encourage your kids to BE kids. Encourage your kids to explore and experiment. Encourage your kids to eat sour gummy worms from the pavement outside the church gym (This definitely was not accomplished by any of my siblings and maybe you should not actually encourage this but you get the idea right?)
Encourage your kids to do what they love before the rest of the world tells them that they have to choose to invest in a trade/major/passion more beneficial to the community, more financially beneficial, more worthwhile “in the long run.”
Who knows. They might go from ducks to Pulitzers.*
Bonus Round: My superb abstract drawing skills at the tender age of 2 years and 10 months.
*Not that I have a Pulitzer. But the entire point of this post is to dream and I’m all about leading by example.