Miss C stuck a goldfish cracker up her nose the other day. She did it in that intentional way of all children who are three and host a permanent twinkle in their eyes. “Ooooh, goody,” (I could see all three years of her brain synopses fizzing with chortles.) “This will get a laugh.”
And laugh I did as that absurdly neon orange fish dangled out of her right nostril.
We share the things we think will spread joy. Will spread twinkles in our eyes. Will coax a laugh out of our companion.
And other times, we don’t share.
I teach a class of 3- to 5-year-olds at a Bible study every Thursday morning. And every Thursday morning, I repeat the sing-song, “We have to take turns and share.” Because those arms that just a moment ago only knew to grab for mama’s hair when nursing have suddenly become proprietary, absolutely dragon-0n-loot-pile-ish, about All The Things. Matchbox cars and plastic dinosaurs and dollhouse pieces and Legos and crayons and trains and animal crackers. These things get grasped in fists and wreathed by arms and snarled over with “Mine!”
There are certain things we all fence around and want to do anything to keep to ourselves.
Fear keeps us fenced in. Fear of not having enough for ourselves. Fear of losing. Fear of being laughed at (not the kind of goldfish-dangling-from-nose laughter). Fear of being judged not quite good enough.
So in the spirit of “taking turns and sharing,” and not fencing my arms around my own little kingdom, I’d like to say, I’ve written the first draft of a children’s novel.
It’s a goal I set for the year, and I printed out the results at Kinko’s the other day.
Three first draft copies for my three most trusted readers. The people I turn to with a twinkle in my eye and a cracker dangling from my nose and trust to laugh with me, not at me.
As I gain confidence in myself and the stuff of the draft (the characters and prose and plot and resolution and organization), I hope to move from “Mine” to “Yours” and share the later polished drafts with a wider circle.
This share thing isn’t always easy at the 3- to 5-year-old stage. But it’s not all that much easier at 36 years either. It still takes trust that by expanding our reach, we’ll gain more (smiles, friendship, laughter, support, encouragement), and not less, of what we held dear.
This post is gratefully inspired by and shared with the writers at Five Minute Fridays.