No, this isn’t some dissertation about Sarah Palin, there’s a reason for the line.
My son, Noah, is quite the writer. I’ll admit, of course, that some of his humor tends to go toward the 10-year-old range. Stories like the Pig who Found a Hot Dog is one of his last books he wrote on his own. You can make your own jokes about cannibalism because he certainly did.
He now has 3 stories in his Pig series.
Then came his latest: The Gummy Bears of Tra-la-la-la-land. The opening salvo of his book: “unbeknownst to anyone, the gummy bears were going rogue.”
I didn’t write any of the words in his story, but I do encourage his writing. His dad, after all, writes nearly every day, either here on this blog or part of his daily job as a television producer. I marvel at how, at ten, he has a vocabulary and creative mind that allow him to think, first, that gummy bears would actually have the ability to go rogue, and second . . . know how to use “rogue” and “unbeknownst” in the same sentence . . . let alone use them at all. Hell, I’m not sure I’d have had the vocabulary at ten.
But it’s not just Noah . . . Sam, Noah’s twin brother, wanted to enter the fire prevention poster contest . . . with only one day to complete his poster. Yet he did it . . . sitting in the kitchen, on a chair, staring at the stove, looking for details on the burners and stovetop.
Hannah, my middle child, has this habit of “borrowing” my Dobro (it’s a guitar, if you didn’t know, with a metal cone resonator – kind of like a speaker cone – rather than a sound hole) in order to play her music. She will hear a song online and then learn it, immediately. She’ll even write her own material and then come down (usually at the most inopportune moment, but that’s a kid for you) and play it for me. I always stop what I’m doing and make time to listen.
Same goes, by the way, for the gummy bear story and the artwork. This is their world, and I like to think I’ve played at least a small part in encouraging it.
So here we were, seven at night, and rather than watching television – and it was on in the background, don’t get me wrong – they were all working separately on their projects. So rather than Agents of SHIELD – which they really like, or cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants – which I can only take in very small metered doses, they were immersed in their own imaginative worlds. Sure, Hannah’s has a tendency to be filled with teenage shuddering angst at times, but maturity and experience will temper that into some great songwriting. She could likely, with work, sell what she’s written already to a teenage audience. It’s just a matter of practice.
My point . . . the gummy bears may have gone rogue in the story, but my kids somehow have made imagination and creativity their own version. Going rogue, you see, is not as hard as you’d expect. It’s not some crazy political ideal that has not real teeth – a la Sarah Palin – it’s actually been finding their own way, their own path.
After a couple years of figuring out where we’re going, it’s nice to know that the kids have all found their way . . . with a little help from me, their navigator. After all, you can only go rogue for so long.