let me tell you where you can find some wise little people and a ton of inspiration… in an elementary school. oh man, what an amazing experience i had yesterday.
my good friend, jessica, called me a few weeks ago and asked me if i was interested in coming to the school where she works to help with their career day. cool, i thought, since i love schools and used to be a teacher myself. then, she told me that she wanted me to come and share what it means to be a writer! and that, my friends, i thought was amazing! how much fun would that be?!
so, the weeks passed, and yesterday rolled around – the day i was going to talk about being a writer. but, i had no idea what i would really be doing. i didn’t know if i was talking to a single class or what. turns out, when i drove up to the school, i saw signs welcoming all of the professionals who were there for career day… the whole school was involved and this was a big deal! the 20 or so of us who would be speaking even had a little orientation time. i must say, i was a little shocked. but, i kept my cool. schools are like home to me.
i soon received my schedule and the classroom where i would be. i was going to be in the classroom for about 2 and a half hours, while different classes rotated and came to me to listen to me talk about what i love doing – writing. at this point, i felt a teeny bit overwhelmed and began to wonder what i was going to say – yes, this is the point that i began to wonder what i was going to say. have i ever mentioned that i am a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants procrastinator?!
i sat down with my iPad and began jotting down some notes. i wrote a few things on the board and got a glass of water to sip on throughout the afternoon. and then, my first class arrived and i was off!
it took about 10 seconds for my “teacher mode” to kick in and then it was all a blur. i talked, laughed, questioned, and shared my story of how i became a writer – even after having my high school teacher disappoint and hurt me by telling me i was not a good writer. i showed the kids one of my articles and we talked about the process of writing a story for a newspaper. i asked them what kinds of tools writers need in order to write, and instead of getting answers like “a pen” and “paper” , i got answers like “imagination”, “courage to believe in yourself like how you believed in yourself even after that teacher was mean to you.” and “inspiration from everything around you”. it was amazing to see the kids’ eyes light up and hear the depth of their thoughts and answers. as each minute passed, i think i got more and more wound up & excited.
we talked about how practicing writing makes you a better writer and i told the kids that i keep a journal and write about things that happen to me, usually every day, so that i can become a better writer. then they asked me if i was going to write about them, since visiting them was something special that happened in my day. i promised them that i would write about them. and it was definitely not a hard promise to keep. they touched me and excited me so much, i could not not write about them here on the blog.
as one of the classes left, the fifth grade class, one girl came up and asked for my autograph. how sweet is that?! of course, in typical girl fashion, soon there were about 5 other girls who came up and asked the same thing. so, i signed my name on their little pieces of paper, and i realized that i wanted to leave them with a little inspirational message as well, and what popped into my head immediately was this: “tell your story.”
because, ultimately, that’s what i talked with them about. learning to believe in ourselves and to believe that we can do anything we truly want to… and we all have a story to tell with our lives, whether we write it down or live it out in other ways.
after four classes, about four big glasses of water, lots of giggles, tons of inspirational moments, and a renewed belief in the future of our world, i packed up my stuff at the end of the day. while i was doing that, one fifth grade girl came up to me and said, “elizabeth, you have inspired me.” and then gave me a hug. i was almost moved to tears. there is not much more that can top that moment. except, then, her teacher came up to me right after and whispered into my ear that the kids were all saying that i was their favorite career day person.
of course, in giving my time to these kids, it was i who actually received amazing gifts of love and joy. what can i say? it was so much freaking fun, and i was almost bouncing off of the walls when i left. i am still amazed and i will ride high from this fantastic opportunity for a while… a chance to be in the classroom again and to see the excitement and joy and hope and dreams in the eyes of children… the whole afternoon was breathtakingly overwhelming.
and, i just had to share their wisdom, and this part of the story of my life, with you.