“Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain.
As a child, I had a vivid imagination, I was constantly making up stories. I’m not sure when I started writing them down, but I’m pretty sure my fourth grade year was a turning point — specifically, the first time my teacher asked the class to write a story. All too quickly, time was up. Although I didn’t want to stop writing, I was ecstatic — what I discovered that day was a creative outlet for the abundance of daydreams and ideas swirling around in my head!
At recess, I was more apt to sit quietly on the playground writing or drawing, while everyone else played ball or hopscotch. I filled page after page in my spiral-bound notebooks, oblivious to the playground mayhem surrounding me.
A shy child, the pen gave me a mighty voice.
One day, after bravely sharing one of my stories with my favorite teacher, she solemnly told me, “Imagination is your gift. I hope you never stop writing.” In that moment, I felt amazing. For a brief moment, I forgot to be shy. Suddenly, I had a glimpse of my purpose: I was a writer!
My teacher’s words stuck with me throughout my school years. When I felt confused, lonely, or insecure, I had something to hold onto, like a security blanket clutched forever in my fist…I had my gift. Maybe this is why, to this day, I get so moved when I cross paths with a child or young adult waxing proud about their own passion. I remain a huge believer in the power of acknowledging our gifts.
Ask a child what they like to do or what they like to learn about, and then notice how their eyes light up when they answer. Do they go on to show you what they can do? Do they want to talk about it all day long, never tiring of the topic? Then pay attention, you’re onto something important!
Do you know a child, a teen, or even an adult who possesses such a passion or gift? Say something to them. Just for today, make a point to notice a gift in another human being and voice it — even if it’s just a sparkle in their eye. Let them talk … let them show. Like my favorite teacher so many years ago, you might be the first one who’s ever asked … the first one who’s ever taken notice.
And if you happen to be that person — just know they might carry your words in their hearts for the rest of their lives. Years from now, it could mean the difference between a dream — and a dream come true.