Tonight Ben and I put together invitations to a fall talent show for his writing club.
Just within that statement lies two examples of Ben’s surprisingly strong leadership skills. I say surprisingly not because Ben doesn’t seem capable of leadership, but because even as an adult, I’m not sure I could (or would) pull off the feats he does.
1.) Starting a writing club. One afternoon Ben was looking through “American Boys Handy Book” and read a short paragraph describing a literary sketch club. From that seed of a concept sprouted his idea to form a writing club with his friends. He delighted in making up the rules, deciding who he’d invite, figuring out when they should meet, etc. If it had been me, the idea would have stopped right there. But not Ben. He asked if he could have three friends come over after school every other week. We agreed reluctantly, hoping his friends wouldn’t laugh at such an idea, and if he did manage to get them on board, we assumed that the group would fizzle out after a couple of meetings. The first meeting, I set out some fun snacks for the kids and Ben took it from there. They actually listened, participated, produced written matter, and ended with a wisely planned fifteen minutes of play time. Almost two weeks later, Ben reminded me that it was time for Writing Club again. I called up the parents, they dropped off their kids on the assigned day and it continued that way (about 8 meetings) until the end of school. With everyone’s crazy vacation schedule, I convinced Ben to take the summer off (though he wasn’t thrilled with the idea). Sure enough, the first week of school Ben asked when we could start Writing Club again. Tomorrow will be our third Writing Club since school started this fall.
2.) Dreaming up a talent show. Sometime during the summer, Ben came up with the idea of hosting a talent show featuring his Writing Club members. I’m not sure what spurred the thought, but he decided that a Halloween theme would be perfect for this event. During the heat of July afternoons, he’d sit in the cool, dark guest room testing out songs he deemed suitably spooky. I was thankful that he had a creative diversion to pass the time and never imagined that he would actually want to carry through with his plan. When will I learn? Once this boy has an idea that he takes a liking to, he just doesn’t let it go. He kept inquiring about whether we could do the show, and we kept telling him that we just needed to get through his birthday first. He waited until September 22 and started in again – not pesky, just quietly, patiently persistent. So how can you argue when your child wants to host an event as original as this? Tonight at dinner we picked out a date and started making plans for an informal get-together with his friends and their families.
What gets me about Ben’s endeavors is not just the undertakings themselves, but his confidence that he can make them happen. He never questions the plausibility. He never wonders what other people will think. He’s never concerned about having everything figured out before he sets the gears in motion. He just assumes that the world around him will be as excited about his idea as he is and he gets to work making it happen.
I still can’t decide if he’s youthfully innocent or wise beyond his years, but it’s a special joy to be able to admire my child.