Marvels at creativity of kids
By Randal B. Thatcher
Apr. 26, 2018
Today, indulge me as I marvel.
I am continually amazed by the inherent creativity and innate artistry of youth.
Give a high schooler a video camera, and I’m astounded by the insightful documentary film he can produce with it. (I got to view several such films at a recent student screening event at North Sanpete High School.)
Give a girl in middle school a solid lump of clay, then I watch with awe as she confidently transforms it into an arrestingly beautiful ceramic mask worthy of a prominent place on a proud uncle’s wall.
Give a kindergartener a length of butcher paper and some finger paints, and I cannot help but be bowled over by the resulting abstract art. (Not to mention the resulting mess!)
And give a group of fifth-graders and sixth-graders an assignment to write a fictional short story, and my mind was blown by the sheer ingeniousness of their highly entertaining yarns.
I recently had the opportunity to both read and critique 42 such stories written with surprising wit and imagination by the students of a local elementary school.
Some were short—a single, double-spaced page—but others where several chapters long, stapled into book form and replete with splashy and alluring illustrations.
So uniformly good were these stories, and so compelling in basic premise, that I wanted to share a few of their titles and summaries just to give you some idea of the sheer creativity at work within the inventive mind of a typical 11-year-old or 12-year-old.
“The Day I Became a Superhero”—a familiar fantasy tale, except this young superhero saves local cats and dogs.
“The Talking Bear and the Hunter”—I’ll bet you’d hold off shooting a bear also if you discovered it could talk, and you’d probably also become fast friends, just like it happened in this story.
“Dimensions”—Just imagine discovering a whole new world in another dimension—and all before dinnertime!
“The Strange Case of the Blue Blobs”—A lot of fighting occurs in this one with the fate of the world hanging in the balance, but—spoiler alert—our young heroes finally manage to subdue those pesky blobs in the end.
“Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Bike Bandits”—If you’ve ever had a bicycle stolen, then you’ll understand the sweet satisfaction of having this master sleuth enter into the picture, solve the case—naturally—and unmask the culprit!
“The Love in the World”—a surprisingly emotional love story by a 12-year-old boy but very positive, full of hope … and steamy romance!
“It’s All in My Head … or is It?”—a reality-bending tale that blurs the line between dreams and waking life.
“The Real Mrs. Krany”—a 12-year-old’s imaginings of what her sixth-grade teacher might be up to during afterschool hours, and what is revealed may surprise you!
“The Statue that Came to Life”—Just be careful about which statues you decide to mischievously spray-paint in your local park after dark.
“Dragons Versus Unicorns”—You’d think the dragons would win easily, but the unicorns might have a few surprises inside those sparkly horns!
“Space Travel”—Among 42 stories, there’s bound to be one about space travel, and this was it, and with astonishingly detailed descriptions of the cosmos.
“Ugly Versus Attractive”—an unexpectedly insightful look into what constitutes true beauty.
Those are just a dozen of the 42 stories I had the pleasure of reading—all equally imaginative and fascinatingly fun to read. Most included a heartwarmingly happy ending (usually with good eventually triumphing over evil) but not always.
I jotted comments on every story, including some praise for the wonderful inventiveness of that particular plot. And these comments were all sincere.
I know that as we grow from kids into adults, many sobering responsibilities unavoidably come into our lives which tend to claim too much of our free time and our mental and emotional energies.
But my perennial hope, with every rising generation, is that those inherently creative and imaginative young minds will manage to retain and express their natural and wonderful creative force as they grow older.
I hope they will.
Our all-too-serious world desperately needs it!
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