Did you all have a relaxing Easter weekend? Or did you wear yourselves out catching up on yard work or travelling?
My yard is a wreck, but I ignored it this weekend and took a little road trip up to Kansas City to attend a conference for Leadership Training for Christ. To say that it was awesome would be an understatement.
I'm exhausted after two long days chaperoning, judging, scoring, sponsoring, and herding our small group of kids. And I was only one of several parents that went up to help. There were at least 800 young people gathered at the hotel to compete and share in this wonderful work. The kids had a blast, but they did it with much restraint and stellar behavior.
Aside from helping the kids grow and have fun in a huge social gathering, it was a great opportunity to sit back and be an observer of youthful behavior. As a writer, the experience was priceless. I had the opportunity to be a fly on the wall as young people talked, played, and performed. Of course, they weren't always being themselves, especially during the puppet shows or while they practiced for their vocal performances. But they were entertaining and interesting, regardless of the activity in which they were involved.
I think the one place where I saw them at their most natural selves was the swimming pool late Friday night. The pool was overflowing with laughing, screaming, hilarious kids. They overflowed its banks while parents stood around and shivered in the brisk night air to take snapshots.
By late Saturday afternoon, the tone had become somewhat subdued. Kids were tired. Parents and coaches were beyond exhausted. But I never once heard a whine or saw a pout in that large congregation, and that's a testament to the state of mind everyone shared. The kids were proud of the hard work they had invested, and were pumped at the success that had come as a result. I couldn't be more proud of the small group of kids we took up there. And next year we're going to have to make time for a few more pillow fights.
If you write for kids, involve yourself by hanging out with a few of them every chance you get. It will help you create a fantastic voice, and keep you abreast of the latest slang expressions and interests of the younger generation. More than that, though, will be the experience of meeting some amazing, true-life characters that will touch your heart and fill you with joy.
Hope everyone has a wonderful week. I'll be back.