Have you ever found an old journal or notebook from your childhood and discovered a story you wrote years ago? Did you finish it? Did you perform it as a play for your family? When was the last time you wrote a story?
Children have a natural inclination toward storytelling, even in their earliest years; as they learn to talk, they learn to say what’s on their mind. Communication for practical things (“Food, please!”) might take on a creative angle as kids’ imaginations develop (“I’m a hungry T-Rex and I’m gonna gobble up this cereal with my big teeth!”). So, what happens to this pure, inventive drive by the time we’re adults? Where does it go? Have we been influenced by the responsibilities and logistics of our daily lives that we forget to use our imaginations?
Perhaps the best way to think like a child…is to learn from a child. Why limit ourselves to the gravity of the real world, when we could be seeing things from a kid’s point of view, where unicorns have bounce-house birthdays, rainbow fish sing showtunes, and knights travel through space to find the best cheeseburger in the universe? When we believe anything is possible, we open our minds to new ideas, and the symbolism found in seemingly ridiculous tales may help us sort out the challenges of modern life. So how do we do this? Around the world, people are creating arts education programming to promote creativity.
One of these great organizations, called Young Storytellers, is doing this every day. A non-profit based in Los Angeles, Young Storytellers helps students in public schools gain access to creative writing education, with the mission to empower children to discover the importance of their voice, their perspective, and the stories they can tell. Through programs designed for elementary, middle, and high schoolers, students create unique, personal stories and share them via live performances and even on film. Hollywood industry professionals volunteer as mentors, guiding the storytellers through the writing and production process, and through this focused, creative work, the amazing imagination of young people is translated to the page, stage, and screen! Voila!
How can you encourage a child to tell their story? How can you share yours? Whether it’s a narrative tale about a challenge you faced at work today, or a silly story about a baby goat who learns to fly, whatever you have to say is important. So go for it, and speak up! Kids and adults! Use your voice and imagination to share your creativity with the world.
For more inspiration and motivation, check out Julie's Greenroom episode "The Write Stuff"