Should I Be Alarmed?
Has the world of children turned dark while I was sleeping?
I recently conducted another Creative Writing Workshop for kids ages 8-12. This batch had an additional hour in which to draft the stories they’ve been itching to write.
As gifted children go, they were intense, serious, and driven as they let their creative juices flow on paper.
The harvest was as I expected—imaginative and fresh.
What made my jaw drop was the content in general: most of them were dark—some gruesome, some violent, some tragic—sans the happily-ever-after ending.
One had one whole village wiped out.
Another had the hero stabbed to death by a monster-alien.
And yet another had the scene in a filthy, leaky prison.
One more described two old people salivating, about to fulfill their lifelong dream to travel to a country. But the only craft that could bring them there acted up, then conked out—for good.
Most of their characters have low-self-esteem and are in abusive relationships. They lose their battles; they are killed.
All these despite my rah-rah for them to offer hope and joy to their readers.
Since these kids are all voracious readers, I ask: What are they reading? What are their influencers? Why do they see the world differently from the way I see it?
Only three out of 17 kids had me smiling at the end of their stories: good triumphed over evil; redemption. The kind of stories I write for them.
Am I living in the dark ages?
Ooops, even their dark and my dark have different meanings.
As a children’s book author, what to do? Should I be alarmed?
While chewing on possible answers to these questions, I hum this song of grace:
There's a friend for all the children
to guide us every day,
whose care is always faithful
and never fades away;
there's no-one else so loyal
his friendship stays the same;
he knows us and he loves us,
and Jesus is his name.