This is the first episode of a webseries called “Written By A Kid,” in which children tell stories and adults create short films of the children’s stories. It’s one of the few places where I’ve seen children’s voices be respected instead of cooed at or ignored.
Kids’ voices are often silenced by adults because they are seen as unimportant, or insignificant. But when kids get encouraged, asked, or even required to tell stories, it gives them an opportunity to engage with the world around them. For example, I used to work at a creative writing workshop for kids. There was one eight-year-old who often wrote exuberant stories of fantastical worlds. But one day, she came in and said that her class pet had died. She emphatically did not want to talk about the pet or how she felt about it. But she wrote a story about a dying animal, and it allowed her to engage with her own emotions in a way that she was unable or unwilling to otherwise. Encouraging children to listen to stories gives them the opportunity to empathize with and learn from adults. But giving them the opportunity and tools to tell stories allows them to understand themselves exactly.
–Lena Jo Beckenstein