The Idea Notebook
By Brandon Parsons
Today I had a surprising and utterly wonderful thing happen in the midst of a chaotic and technologically-impaired day at school. This morning, with all of the plans I had set in shambles due to tech issues with YouTube, I was running around to try and shift to a Plan B, when a student of mine came into my room between classes. This student is a quiet, polite and mostly "unseen" kiddo, but I know that she is actually an immensely creative and imaginative individual who, when she does offer ideas or answers up, are always insightful and on-point. She's a kindred soul, as I remember being a good deal like her in middle school, and I can definitely understand her to a great degree. She was the one who, in her beginning-of-the-year survey mentioned that she wanted to be "the next George Lucas." My kind of kiddo!
In any case, she entered the room among other kids coming and going, worming her way through the crowd with a binder in her hands. I could tell by the way she held on to it that it was a prized possession and that whatever was in it was pretty important to her. I know that look. I've had it on my own face in regards to certain things. She asked me if I would like to check out what's inside of it, and of course I obliged. "You can take it home and read it, if you want to Mr. P. I wanted you to see it."
After she left, I opened it up and began to read the many pages she had written and was amazed to see that it was her "ideas" notebook. All of her writing ideas, thoughts, characters, even a whole explained "universe" planned out for her to use as a base to work off of. I was blown away, and extremely touched by all of the work she had done, which was very unique and thoughtful in scope. She wanted ME to read it and see what she had come up with. I've had kids give me pictures they'd drawn or give me little trinkets, but I've NEVER been given the keys to a kiddo's personal and private imaginative processes before. I can't even begin to tell you how impressed and honored I am to have been one of the only ones she has chosen to bestow all that upon. Knowing how private and protective I can be about my own works and creative ideas, I consider it high praise to be trusted in such a way. This is a kid who is going somewhere and who I plan to positively nurture and encourage to continue her work. One never knows; she may indeed become the next George Lucas and do some pretty fantastic things to tell her stories!
It's things like this that let me know that despite the words and actions of some to try and dissuade me from my career, I'm in the right place. There is so much more to it than data, tests and trivial and frivolous educational fads. What inspiration and support we give our kids annihilates any worth attached to any of those lesser things. It is my best and brightest dream to be able to inspire my kids to do great things with their lives and it was just what I needed to remind me that in doing what I do, I urge them on to be themselves, be confident in their dreams and be true to who they are and what they truly love. Not a bad thing for an otherwise chaotic Thursday.