A Dose of Childhood

In Part 2 of my conversation with theatre Director Mark Booher (posted Wed. Aug. 8) we talked a lot about the importance of imagination. One key point Mark made as to the reason Christians should be in creative fields is that we should steer people to use their imaginations for good.

IMG_0232Mark says, “Things for people’s good and God’s glorification start in the imagination.” He goes on to say how important it is for people (and young people in particular) to have lots of possibilities and imagination. He argues that poverty of life is linked to a poverty of imagination.

As a child, I had a very rich imagination. I started out like most little kids dressing up, playing outside, creating stories, going on adventures with my stuffed animals, etc. This pretend play continued through all my childhood. And as I started to grow into Jr. High and High School, my imagination was not left behind. It stayed with me and found its way into my writing. To this day, my imagination is alive and well even as a grown-up, which is one of the reasons I’m a children’s author.

IMG_0233I was at a writer’s conference when I had an epiphany about being an author. I had heard several authors talk about their rough childhood or some past trauma and how it fueled their writing and gave depth to their stories. I was having doubts that I had anything valuable to write, because I had had a wonderful childhood filled with imagination and magic and whimsy. So my stories usually included these elements.

I was saddened to think about kids who are robbed of their childhood because of abuse, loss, neglect, and the such. The world is full of kids who never get a chance to be kids, who never have their imaginations fostered, who have their childhoods cut short way before they’re ready.

And then it hit me: I could give every kid a bit of childhood. 

With every story I create and every book I write, I can give a child who reads my books IMG_0234imagination and magic and whimsy. There may be a kid who feels lost between divorced parents. Or a kid who worries about his next meal or where he’ll sleep that night. There may be a kid who hides from abuse and shields her younger siblings from it. There are kids who are robbed of their childhood.

But for 18 chapters and 200-something pages, they get a little childhood from me. They enter a story that allows them a moment to be free of worry and to imagine.

Childhood is such a small window of time in the grand scheme of a person’s life. We are grown-ups far longer than we are children. Those few magical years are essential for building imagination. Imagination is essential for life.

And this is why I write for kids.

For more on my books check out my website www.fcshaw.com

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