To me, children have weird priorities.
Yesterday, I heard two 4th graders waxing philosophically about how cool it is that trees are green. They are right, of course, but that’s just something I never really think about anymore. Wonderment over chloroplast pigment fades out around puberty, unfortunately, but after hearing their passionate opinions about trees, I was curious to see what else they were excited about. So, like a hard-hitting investigative journalist, I went in undercover. I snuck into the background of their writing camp in order to get the full story of their misplaced moxie. I’m like Nellie Bly but for hyperactive adolescents.
What I learned throughout the course of the camp was that children are on a whole new level of sentimentality that I cannot even process fully. I’ve had college-level philosophy classes with less complex existentialism than these kids had during a five minute walk downtown. Like their green trees, the secret to their thinking lies in their simplicity. They are passionate about everything. They are fascinated by everything. They, unlike adults, don’t get caught up on useless details. For instance, plausibility.
We went to a photo gallery where the kids were given a simple assignment: find a photo of your future. Some kids chose pictures of big houses in the middle of cornfields and rivers. Some kids got abstract with it, choosing instead pictures of lions or roads. None of them gave a second’s thought into the details, only that they would like to include these things and places. They don’t worry about the future; they are just content knowing that they’ll have one.
And, to me, that’s kind of beautiful.
-Ashley, camp intern from The College of Idaho.