Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Encourage Enthusiasm

There is nothing quite like the enthusiasm of a child. Still fairly innocent, they see things simply and simply enjoy the things they see. They laugh at little things like the mention of underware or pictures of cats in party hats. They even giggle at names, like one of my new eight year old readers who informed her mother that the name Mildred made her laugh.

When I named one of my characters Mildred, I did not chose that name in an attempt to amuse kids; but rather, because it was old fashioned. But the more I think about it, the more I can see why that would seem funny to a child. Mildred, from the Old English meaning "gentle strength", has not been popular since about 1910 when it hit it's peak. Therefore Mildred probably seems as strange to today's children as foreign names seem to me.

Children also immensely enjoy things they can relate to like my characters Edward Cornstalk and Jimmy Curlytail pummeling Justin Curlytail in the head with mud balls because he would not help them out of their predicament. One mother told me that she and her daughter laughed hysterically at that scene. And I know that it is relateable because I based it off of the time my neice threw mud balls at her sister as she rode by on her bike.

Children haven't yet been jaded by everyday life, paying bills, complicated relationships, and so forth. If only we could bottle and sell that enthusiasm. But since we can't, the next best thing we can do is encourage that enthusiasm both in our children and in ourselves. Encourage them to read, encourage them to write, and encourage them to dream. Laugh with them, remember to notice the little things, Find joy in everything you see and do. Sometimes that joy may be hiding behind a cloud, but it's still there and can be found if you look through the eyes of a child.

Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!

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