Saturday, February 21, 2015

To the moms of struggling young writers

I'm taking a knitting break today (not really, but as far as the blog goes, I am) and am talking to freaked out homeschooling moms instead.  For twelve of our thirteen homeschooling years, I led a creative writing group for homeschooled kids of various ages.  Every year, there were several parents who were just totally freaked out over their young kids' lack of writing ability or willingness to write.

Enter the Jimmy Fallon Birdman video.  Have you seen it?  I think everyone on the planet should watch it.  Especially homeschool moms with young children.  The video showed up on my Facebook page as one of those "This is hilarious. You must watch." posts that are rarely very funny and a total waste of time.  But, it happened to roll across my screen with perfect timing.  I was busy procrastinating and chose to watch the video instead of doing what I was supposed to be doing.  And I am SO glad I did.

The video had me rolling around, tears streaming down my face laughing.  I laughed so hard I woke up the kids.  Kids who are teenagers & don't even wake up when the smoke alarm goes off.  Even the dog came over to see what was wrong with me because I was laughing so hard.  The gist of the video is Jimmy Fallon & Michael Keaton acting out scripts that several young children wrote titled, Birdman.  Automatically, you know it's going to be funny, right?

Of course the video was hilarious.  Fallon & Keaton took their rolls seriously, or at least they tried to, and their acting skills & voices were what made them so funny.  The scripts themselves were, well, typical for six & seven year olds' writing styles.  And that is what I want all those freaked out homeschool moms who are giving themselves gray hair stressing out over their child who doesn't write well.  They are kids!  Young kids.  They aren't supposed to write well.

Take the scripts in the video for example.  They by no means show great writing.  Yes, they are creative, funny and show some emotion.  But they aren't "great" writing.  They are just examples of what a typical six or seven year old would write.  What makes them so funny is Keaton's & Fallon's acting & reactions.

So, go watch the video if you haven't already.  And the next time you're freaking out over your child's "lack" of writing skills, picture Keaton & Fallon reading your child's writing.  It's not so bad now, is it?

One other point I'd like to make....  I really, really hope that the young authors of those scripts realize that people are laughing at the comedy they created, not at them as individuals.  Occasionally in our homeschool writing group, someone would write something without intending for it to be funny.  The group would see humor in it however, and laugh.  Occasionally, the writer would become upset, thinking the group was laughing at him, not at the story.  That's not the case in the Birdman video.  The scripts and the acting is what everyone is laughing at and why the video is going viral.  So kids, please keep writing and thank you for showing the bravery of putting your creativity out there for the world to see.

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