When my cousins and I were younger, we used to spend the summers at my aunt’s house. We transformed her basement into this place where we had the freedom to pursue all creative endeavors we could think of. From these experiences that we took the initiative to put into play, we built some of our most treasured and sacred memories.
From writing stories to building forts with empty pizza boxes, we entertained ourselves for hours. This one summer during early elementary school, we decided that we wanted to write stories and draw pictures to go along with them to create a book. I came up with this story about a secret pancake mix and an evil servant who wanted to use the secret pancake mix to escape the palace grounds and become affluent. My cousin and I drew sketches of what the palace looked like, how we imagined the evil servant, and spent at least a couple of hours trying to add more to the story. Like most young kids, we also got distracted quite easily. I think we left the story and the construction paper we were using to construct it on my aunt’s shelf. A few years later in middle school, we were going through our normal summer routine of hanging out at my aunt’s house and encountered the story from several years ago. While we spent a decent amount of time laughing and reminiscing about our younger selves, we realized how much fun we had through the process. Though we grew older, our desires to participate in the creative process was thankfully still stronger than ever. We used to watch online clips of Art Attack, a British television show where the host used to make all of these creations out of various common art supplies such as newspaper, paint, and glue. We often urged our parents and aunt to give us newspaper and glue so we could attempt to construct castles, houses, and games that we completely made up.
Now that we are in high school, this vision of endless possibility still somewhat exists. We are still creative and while my cousin is an amazing artist and I write, we both like dabbling in both arts. Our desires to always pursue creative work does not look like it is disappearing soon and I highly think it was because of the way we spent our childhood. That is why I encourage everyone to encourage their younger siblings or cousins whenever they are creating miniature figures out of clay or performing puppet shows out of handmade paper animals. These actions may seem insignificant because they are common ways kids play. However, it is extremely important to encourage these creative actions as we must preserve the potential artists, writers, filmmakers, and journalists of the future.
Too often, children grow out of these projects and never look back at what they have created or the ideas that they have had.
It is unfortunate to see all of those fresh ideas- the cliche and the original go to waste. If you are an older sibling, cousin, or parent, take the effort to once in awhile document the child’s drawing, story they have written, or fort they have built. They may come back to their old ideas and transform them into something even greater. They may use that idea or concept and apply it to their occupations. They may not physically do anything with old ideas but perhaps they will appreciate seeing the way they once perceived something else.