Today our local elementary school celebrated Read Across America and I was invited to read in my son’s multi-age kindergarten/first grade class. I chose three books: Maurice Sendak’s classic “Where the Wild Things Are,” Audrey Penn’s “The Kissing Hand,” and Jane Yolen’s “Owl Moon.” Of those, I was able to read both “The Kissing Hand” and “Owl Moon.” (I didn’t want to get the kids and myself all riled up acting out the wild things!)
I forgot how much fun this age was for me, and is today for my son and his classmates. As I read, I watched their faces – they got lost in, no more like they were transported into, the stories and for a few minutes we were all in another world. We joined a little raccoon on his way to his first day of school, holding his mother’s kiss in the palm of his hand. We went on a walk in the woods at night with a young girl and her father as she embarked on her first owling trip. And I was lucky enough to share this journey with them. The power of the written word never ceases to amaze me.
It brings to mind the fact that these young minds are insatiable and that as educators, it is our role, our responsibility, to not simply nurture but to inspire and ennervate their own creativity.
I was still buzzing from the excitement as I drove over a frost-heave riddled back road on my way to work. I thought back to how much I loved, and still love, reading. I thought, too, of the passion I once had for creative writing – my outlet for managing the frustrations and stresses of my young life – and wondered why I had ever stopped. Did I succumb to my inner critic?
I might pull out some of the pieces I’ve written. Maybe I could read them, or get someone with a better vocal presentation to read them, and turn them into podcasts for my kids. I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a podcast for a while now but just haven’t had the inspiration (never mind the time) to jump the fence.
Thank you Mrs. Pettiti, for giving me the chance to relive my childhood through the eyes of your students. Please don’t ever lose your passion for your work! And thank you, Hunter, for constantly reminding me of what’s truly important in life!