The lights were dimmed and everything was set. The heroes awaited the beginning of our birthday celebration with excitement. (Of course we had to wear our Greek-inspired wreaths to go along with our Acton Athens quest for this session!)
“Long ago, nothing we now see existed…” I began.
“No cars!” one hero exclaimed. “No trees!” shared another. “No people!” still another chimed in. They giggled with the familiarity of the story they had heard before.
“Nothing at all, except for darkness,” I continued, “and as some people believe… LOVE. Love spoke into the darkness and said, ‘Look! I’m going to make something BEAUTIFUL!’
And with a crack, my finger pulled the trigger of the lighter and the fire lit the candle in our centerpiece, representing the sun. I continued.
“Suddenly, there was light. Over time everything else appeared. The trees, the animals, the oceans, and even people. Today we celebrate this beautiful mystery – the mystery of LIFE.”
With beautiful familiarity, the birthday girl gently held the globe, and made her way around the sun, representing each year she had lived on the earth. As she walked, we each shared something we loved about her. “You’re kind,” said one. “You’re a good friend,” said another.
As she rounded the corner to an 8-year-old boy, he offered the gift of his words with great sincerity as he shared, “I love your curiosity.”
His deep, thoughtful response caused me to pause. He was so right. This bubbly, kind, confident friend of his was indeed as curious as they come. And he had spotted it – but how? As I considered this, a thought lit up my mind like a lightbulb. He had experienced curiosity for himself as it had begun catching like wildfire in our Elementary Studio in the past few weeks.
My mind drifted to the sound of the wooden toad croaking filling the room as an Elementary hero signaled the transition to DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read). The heroes scurried to get their floor mats, reading books and journals, and make it to their spots in time to meet the challenge. We had started to notice a flicker of curiosity coming to life during this time when we read, rest, or as we started recently, to write – sometimes with journal prompts, sometimes without. After each DEAR time, the Elementary heroes would circle up and share with excitement what books they were reading with each other. What happened next surprised us all.
Over time, books to read were slowly being replaced with journals and pencils – as the heroes couldn’t help but spend more and more time bringing to life the adventures that lay in wait in their minds. No longer did they even need a journal prompt to get their thoughts going – they had their own stories they were getting lost in. We knew a love of writing was spreading when they no longer were sharing after DEAR time about what books they had read, but what stories they had written – in great detail – and how they continued to build on each other’s ideas, feedback and admiration.
As we followed the fire of their curiosity, it was clear what we would explore for Writer’s Workshop next – writing their own Christmas mystery stories! The hours they poured on their stories during this past session showed their excitement and passion. And yet, what excited them most of all with this new challenge? They couldn’t wait to sit next to a younger Spark hero and share their finished book with them.
The day had come. As we paired up Elementary heroes with Spark heroes, some joining via Zoom and some in person, smiles and laughter filled the room. Excitement to both read and hear stories was abundant. Although a very supportive audience, the Spark heroes also gave specific feedback on how the authors could make their stories even better next time. “I think you need more pictures…” or “I think you need color, not just black and white” they shared. It was special to see how the Elementary heroes listened to the feedback and agreed with humble hearts.
As my mind drifted back to the present moment, we joined in singing “Happy Birthday” to the birthday girl. Warmth flooded my heart as I saw a group of heroes discovering their passion, identity and curiosity – and even noticing those traits in each other.
Just like a good mystery story, a journey of growth doesn’t happen in a straight line. It involves twists and turns and plenty of surprises. I’m so glad that we chose to trust the heroes, and allow the fire of their curiosity to lead us all to a beautiful, surprise ending this past session.
Not to mention a fun impromptu snowball fight on the last day! 🙂