I’m not going to lie. I don’t particularly like being around kids. The majority of them are too loud and energetic and have a knack of getting dirty. While there’s nothing wrong with those things, per se, I’m just the total opposite.
But, kids can also be wonderful and a lot of fun and they embody so much of what grown-ups should be- curious and excited about the world, not afraid to take risks, and living life like it’s full of possibilities. If we hold on to our inner children longer, we’d be much happier. Maybe that’s why I want to write children’s books- to reclaim my youth, in a way, and to remind others not to lose theirs in the first place.
Books are able to connect us to our younger selves. The same way that powerful words and memorable stories leave an impression on us, we also leave part of ourselves in those pages. We’re never the same reader twice. How can we be when we have been changed?
With that being said, I’ve decided to challenge myself by interacting more with kids. They are who I want to write for, after all, so I figured I should re-familiarize myself with them. Luckily, volunteering allows me to do so without having to assume much responsibility.
The other week, I decided to do a spur of the moment volunteering. I pulled up Hands On Greater Portland’s Project Calendar and I settled on “Get Artsy with Refugee Kids.” I would be able to help kids be creative, which was the draw for me.
The art project for that day was to make dangling monkeys! There were other adults and we were each assigned our own tables to man. I got a pair of sisters- elementary school aged, who were just wonderful in following instructions and they had fascinating stories to share. We talked and we laughed. And, they seemed to enjoy themselves.
An ongoing commitment I signed up for (which I’ve mentioned before) is being a Summer Reading volunteer for Multnomah County Library. This entails signing kids up for the program, awarding them prizes, and answering any questions they (or their parents/guardians) might have.
I had my first shift this past Sunday and it was enjoyable. I loved how excited they were about it and seeing them motivated to read so they can win stuff. The kids (and the grown-ups) were well-behaved so that helped.
I’m definitely looking forward to my future shifts and being around kids more- and that’s no lie!