It was gloomy and rainy here for most of the past week – to the point where we had some lakes forming in the low spots in our yard, and the storm was regularly knocking out our satellite TV reception. When the sun came out briefly toward the end of the week, it looked so strange I almost called the authorities to report seeing a UFO.

Gloomy weather usually doesn’t put me in a gloomy mood, but it was definitely heading in that direction, especially since I had a number of appointments and activities, and being out in the pouring rain – or driving in it at night – was not my idea of a good time. I could say it was beginning to dampen my spirits, but “dampen” doesn’t even come close. “Drenching my spirits” would have been more accurate.

All of that changed, however, while I was helping with a Children’s Program at Georgia Writers Museum. The program was a field trip for a small group of students in first through fifth grades at a nearby school, and included a tour of the Museum, a scavenger hunt for information about various Georgia writers, and some creative writing exercises. That’s when my sunny disposition returned.

Part of the program involved the students writing the beginning of a story, and then drawing a picture to illustrate it. In order to make their stories and pictures more colorful – literally and figuratively – they were to include colors in their descriptions and drawings. Crayons were provided, and the students made good use of them.

When my part of the program came, I first asked the students if they have ever been questioned about what they wanted to be when they grew up. In addition to several other occupations, I found myself surrounded by future actors, authors, and artists. I then asked them all to write the beginning of a story that started, “When I’m all grown up…” They could write about what they wanted to do or be, or about what they imagined the world would be like by then. I gave them the option of drawing a picture instead of writing a story, but they all chose to write – even the first graders, which I thought was pretty impressive.

I was also impressed with the quality and scope of their stories, dreams, and aspirations, as well as their eloquence and thoughtfulness. In addition to describing what they wanted to do as a profession, several of them added that they wanted to help improve their community, or make the world a better place.

It was still pouring rain when I left the Museum after the program, but I barely noticed. It was impossible to feel anything but sunny and warm after spending time with these students.

I hope they continue to pursue the dreams and ambitions they wrote about that day. I hope they never lose their bright outlook on life. And I hope they will always discover – as I just did – the sunshine and silver linings behind any dark clouds and gloomy, rainy days that are yet to come.

October 10, 2021
©Betty Liedtke, 2021

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