I received a thank you note in the mail from my four year old niece with her dictated message to me written by her 'mommy'. It made my day when I opened the mail and read her thoughts exactly as she said them. She wrote her name and drew a picture of a rainbow. But her dictation describing the rainbow is my favourite part.
"This is a rainbow that goes to outer space."
I could not stop smiling as I read that. In her imagination, the rainbow goes to outer space. Why not? A rainbow can go to outer space in her story. I love to see her imaginative processes at work. It warms my heart and fills me with joy. Because all of it matters - her beautiful ideas, stories, and make-believe places where rainbows can stretch into outer space, and she will develop that as she grows.
It brought to mind some sweet memories of my childhood. When I was my niece's age, I loved to create imaginative stories, but before I could write, I would dictate to my 'mommy', and she would write down my stories for me.
The first book I ever wrote (when I was 4, I think) was called "The Girl who Lost her Pumpkin", written around Halloween of course. It was dictated to my mom, with colour illustrations by me. It was a complex, mysterious tale about a girl (me) who had a lovely pumpkin ready for Halloween, but somehow she lost it! A lot of searching takes place, high, low, and all around. At last her mom notices that the pumpkin is sitting there on the counter. The last place she thought to look. Aren't our lives like that sometimes? Something important that we were looking for is right in front of us.
True, the story needed a bit of substance, but it paved the way for me to love to write and use my imagination. And that has never gone away.