I am due to become an aunty soon, and upon hearing the news, I started to reflect on what it is that I want to be able to teach my new niece or nephew. After thinking about it long and hard, I have come up with absolutely nothing.
There is the old chestnut, “you can be/do anything you dream of,” but that’s been done, and let’s be honest, most children already think that anyway.
If you ask an average kid what they want to be when they grow up, chances are they’ll tell you they want to be a firefighter, an astronaut and a wizard all at once. In fact, I posed this very question to a 3 year-old I know recently and he told me he wanted to be a dinosaur. Children see nothing as impossible.
As a small child I thought this too. I expected I could climb mountains. Not literally of course, but as a littlie the prospect of climbing a set of stairs seemed almost the same.
However, as a disabled child, I found this to be impossible. Not because it was, but because I was never allowed to attempt it by myself. So, I “learned” that this, and many tasks like it were simply not something I could do. Until blissful adulthood, when as master of my own destiny, I gave it a go and surprised myself.
Granted, there are indeed things I can’t do, and I found that out the hard way. But I survived the attempts (albeit with a few bumps and bruises in some cases), and now I know. This means I have more scope to make decisions on how to tackle other things. It is empowering.
I guess the conclusion I have come to then, is that its not the new baby who I need to impart my wisdom on. It’s their parents.
Along with about 99% of the population (I’m assuming) I have a long-held desire to write a book. The problem is, that takes time that I just don’t have. Plus, I am only an expert on myself (which isn’t very interesting), and I don’t have enough expertise on anything else (or the motivation to get some), to be able to write a book about it. Except for Harry Potter that is. But I think JK Rowling has already got that covered.
I do have an idea for a children’s book though.
Its about Molly. She’s not like the other helicopters who live on the airfield. In fact, She’s a clever forklift (who picks things up easily). Molly has a best friend, Freddie the go-cart, who dreams of being a muscle car when he grows up.
Molly’s parents, Mister and Missus Coddled (a pair of middle-aged helicopters) love their daughter very much and recognise her superior intellect, but despite this they can’t seem to be able to let her experience life for herself.
Now, fiction and writing for children is usually not my forte (some might say it still isn’t). So, I have no idea what my characters should do, or how to make them do it.
Although, there was this one time when my brother and I were playing “too near” to a pond and the adult who was supervising us spent so much energy reminding us to be careful and shielding us from the possibility of falling in. That they weren’t watching where they were walking and fell in themselves. Would that work?
I am hoping that my book, which I envisage as a picture book, (even though I’m blind and can’t draw) becomes a regular fixture in the bedtime rotation of children across the country, (I have no ambition for world domination). That way, parents, like my brother might pick up on a few hints. You are welcome little ones.
So, who wants to publish me?