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Tuesday, September 22 News

Column: Inspired by children’s ideas; let their light shine

Inspiration can strike at any time.

I was reminded of that on a recent visit to Sarah Noble Intermediate School in New Milford.

As a guest, I visited a third-grade classroom to talk about journalism and how to create a newspaper.

The purpose of the visit was to guide and teach. But that’s not all that happened.

During the visit, students also began working on an Earth Day project.

I was honored to stay to see the students in action as they broke into groups, began brainstorming and writing their ideas.

It was impressive. Their ideas were authentic, sharp, realistic and obtainable.

One group zeroed in on ways to clean up plastics from bodies of water, while another directed its attention on ways to save a particular endangered animal.

Two other groups focused on recycling projects, one in the school and another in the community.

The kids beamed with excitement as they shared their ideas while gathered around their teacher on the colorful rug in front of the whiteboard.

As I left the classroom, I felt certain that these 20 or so kids are going to do good in this world.

They are focused and committed, as they demonstrated through their brainstorming session and plans to help this planet.

They have a passion and excitement because they want to make a difference in this world.

I returned to the classroom two weeks later and heard the students as they proudly read aloud the letters they had written to local and state government officials and agencies that pertained to their area of interest.

Some groups asked for collaborative help with local organizations in order to start a project, while others made suggestions on how to improve existing recycling programs and implement new ones.

In one letter, a group of students expressed their disappointment in proposed legislation about animal rights, and offered solutions on how to find a middle ground.

I was inspired.

The students in this one classroom are among the vast group of youth who will become this country’s future leaders. They will lead this community, state and nation.

It’s up to us to nurture them and provide the resources and tools they need to make wise and healthy decisions that will propel them into the future, a future they can embrace with confidence.

Children’s minds are open. Kids are full of ideas. And they want to be part of something great — and they can be.

Every once in a while, though, we have to step out of our adult thinking — we often impose our adult thoughts onto our children — and listen to what they say.

Our children have a voice — a strong voice — and have amazing potential.

Feel the inspiration and hear them roar.