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Cultivating Childhood Dreams

Ever since I was a small girl, becoming a writer has always been a dream of mine. As a young child, the idea of becoming a world-famous author, and having people pick up my published works in libraries and bookstores across the globe, was nothing short of thrilling. I smile now as I remember my first feeble attempts at novel writing, as an enthusiastic, yet grammar-challenged, misspelling-prone girl of seven years old.

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After reading the widely popular American Girl series, I decided to try my hand at writing something of my very own. The result of my efforts were, a mere eight months later, that I had written a story about a young girl’s life in the colonial days, which ended up being a strange mix of characters and story lines from my favorite American Girl series, Anne of Green Gables, and Little Women. My story consisted of six whole pages of scribblings, comfortably sandwiched between two brightly colored pink pieces of construction paper (which, in my mind, constituted a front and back cover), sloppily bound together with pieces of masking tape and a few strategically placed staples. “Ah, this,” I told myself, “is my masterpiece. This is my first book.” Knowing that this great work of mine would someday be heralded as my crowning achievement, I chose an equally impressive title for it, simply: Rebekah Tanner: 1776. Yes, at the time I amazed even myself with the brilliance of my seven year-old mind. This first accomplishment was just the fuel I needed to spur on my desire to write well enough to someday be published. Thus, my love for writing was awakened.

As I think back on that time of my life, I am reminded of how children have a very real need to show off the pictures they have drawn, songs they have made up, or books they have written. Beaming with pride, they pass the nearest adult their brightly colored drawings in which they attempted to sketch a likeness of a happy family and beloved pet. Of course, all the grown up sees when he or she looks at the picture is a dilapidated stick figure family and a dog, which, in reality resembles some sort of peculiar, droopy-eared, science fiction character. Unfortunately, too many children do not grow up receiving any sort of praise or recognition for their accomplishments, whether small or large. Granted, so often what the child comes up with is painfully lacking in maturity and skill, but after all, they are only young children. However, given the right encouragement and training, a young person can do whatever he puts his mind to. Who knows if this child could grow up to be the next Mark Twain or Michelangelo? It causes me to wonder how many opportunities adults miss every day to make a difference in the life of a child.

One adult who was just that sort of encouragement to me growing up was my dear grandmother. Having studied English and grammar extensively over the years, as well as having a love for any sort of writing, she showed me great amounts of support and enthusiasm when it came to my writing attempts. It was she who laughed harder than anyone else when, at the age of seven, I read her the part of my book where a pesky little lizard crawled up the leg of the heroine and gave her the fright of her young life. I remember how I beamed when she gave me a hug and told me how hilarious my story was. My grandmother proceeded to ask about my writing through the years when she would see me, and would try to persuade me that I should put my efforts into being published someday. Her belief in me was inspiring.

Years later, after I actually did have the opportunity to publish a real book I wrote, I signed a copy for my grandmother and brought it to her. By this time, her Alzheimer’s had progressed enough that she had completely forgotten about the stories I wrote as a child and used to eagerly read to her when she came to visit. Nevertheless, as I knelt beside her chair and held out my new book for her to see, I said, “Here, Grandma. I just published this book and thought you might like a copy of your own.” Looking up in total delight and complete surprise, she tightly grasped my hand and exclaimed, “I am so proud of you, honey!” Her blue eyes were twinkling up at me with so much love and pride that my heart ached. I could not help but think that she would never even realize what kind of influence she had in my life to bring me to this point.

Sadly, my dear grandmother passed away just five months ago, but she has left me with so many things that I am thankful for about her. Among them is her belief in my abilities and her encouragement for me to follow my dreams. How I wish that every child could experience the freedom of this kind of support and affirmation in his or her life. It is my prayer that I will someday be that kind of powerful influence in the life of my own children and grandchildren.

Twenty-three year old homeschool graduate and author/speaker, Myklin Vinson, is the proud wife of her loving husband, Travis. The couple enjoys living in northern Texas where Travis works as a drafter. Myklin busies herself with caring for their home and being a part-time student, as well as involving herself in freelance writing and website design/marketing for the business the Lord has given them (http://HeartofVirtue.com). She and her husband are also joyfully anticipating the birth of their first child in January.

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