By Cait Collins
I love watching kids. There’s something so wonderful about their innocence. They believe and they dream. If you remind a child Santa Claus is watching, he behaves. Children accept the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, leprechauns. Elves, and Frosty the Snowman simply because a grown-up told them these creatures exist. And they dream big dreams for their lives. I listened to one little guy define his life’s ambition. He planned to be a doctor so he could make sick people well, and a policeman so he could put the bad guys in jail, and a teacher so he could give the school bullies homework. Oh, and he would do all three jobs at the same time. I have no doubt he will be successful.
Even though I love kids, I find them difficult to write. Maybe it’s because I have no children of my own. Whatever the reason, capturing their spirit and openness eludes me. The portrayals seem like empty balloons. So what’s the answer? I think it lies in being a kid again. Color eggs at Easter. Put a “tooth” under your pillow. Sit on Santa’s lap. As you do these things, try to remember how you felt when you believed. Accept that innocence is a good thing and wish you could drop your jaded attitudes. When you’ve immersed yourself in childlike pursuits and attitudes, then it is easier to craft the character.
By the way, Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny are real.