Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

That Abandoned Idea

(June 11th, 2010)
Dear thank-god-its-summer-break Planet Earth,

Sometimes I think this idea is gonna be so great. And maybe it is. But then other times I remember other things I thought would be great… What if this all bombs out? Then in a few years I’ll look back and think, Boy, was I stupid.” ~ Trevor McKinney

As a child, you are given little to no freedom. Making a difference in the world is left for the big, strong adult figures in society… everyone else just fades to the background and lets the world change around them as they go on with their normal lives. To adjust the normal rhythm of events would be too enormous for a child, supposedly. Even after thinking you come close, there is always someone to drag you down and say that the brilliant idea won’t work and how you should just move on.

Thirteen-year-old Trevor managed to go against the flow of the world and bring about positive difference. Living with an alcoholic mother and a father who abandoned him, Trevor puts aside his problems to think about how he can actually spark change in the world around him. Through the concept of “paying it forward” he passes on good deeds to the needy people around him: he helps a homeless man make a living,  helps an elderly woman with her dream garden, and helps save the life of man getting mugged. His whole plan acts as a long chain: one is supposed to help three people, and each of those three are supposed to help another three and it keeps going on until all the world is performing kind acts. Faced with the imperfections in society, Trevor just about abandons his theory thinking that no one in their right mind would pass it on. It takes a reporter: Chris Chandler, to trace his way from the other side of the country to find Trevor and tell him that he has created an enormous movement, sparked the interest of the media, and lowered crime rates eighty percent. Out of nowhere, Trevor is whisked to stardom for his development of a simple idea.

I was introduced to Pay It Forward in Eighth Grade in one of my elective classes for a unit on inspirational people. I don’t even remember why I was forced to take such a pointless class, but that doesn’t matter: I pulled something great out of the experience. After watching the movie, I at once fell in love with the sweet, warm plot line and it dawned on me that this was something I would want to revisit in the future. This past week I decided to read the book version of the novel and get even deeper into the lives of the characters that I had known  solely on the surface after seeing the movie. It seems like everyone always says that the book version is better than the movie, and I can’t disagree with that. I just adored watching the hidden progress of the movement and exploring the lives of the characters through their own various perspectives and inputs. Each chapter focuses on a different character who was affected by Trevor’s idea, which helped me understand the movement as a whole. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in mystery novels, since there is quite a bit of profound investigation. Pay It Forward also has numerous heartwarming moments; these charitable characters painted intricately by the author will appeal to any reader. The ending was such an incredible twist of events; you’ll enjoy it.


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Reading

(March 23rd, 2010) Dear Planet Earth,

Wild, exotic, adventurous, and vastly descriptive. I’ve caught myself in a pretty captivating adventure book called The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear. It had stood out to me greatly at Borders and I wanted to give an adventure story a shot, since this genre is completely unfamiliar with me. The book reminded me of all of the picture books I’ve read when I was little — expanded to appeal to the adult audience. The story follows a blue bear that is trying to find a place to fit in with society. The book starts out with Blue bear on a boat in the middle of the ocean and continues with a variety of random events and adventures. Any person can connect Blue bear’s development to the development of their own childhood, because just like a human, Blue bear eventually is taught how to speak by talking waves in the ocean, learns early life lessons from a mysterious island that lures him in with desire, and is shown the world on the back of a flying dinosaur. He has formed a couple strong bonds of friendship with many of the characters he has encountered, while in the meantime has been strongly betrayed. Blue bear consistently is cast away from the communities that he grows to be apart of, and so it is a little saddening. At the same time, I find it to be probably one of the most descriptive novels I have ever encountered, since it spends such a large number of pages just to describe the physical characteristics of the ever changing landscape or the many species of creative characters that the author, Walter Moers, has formed. Blue bear’s journey is throughout the land known as Zamonia, which was supposedly a continent formed millions of years ago and had been in the middle of the Atlantic. I would recommend this read to anyone with lots of time on their hands and open to a captivating journey of adventure.


Childhood VIII: Moving On

Sometimes the cards we are dealt are not always fair. However you must keep smiling & moving on (Jackson).

I came home today from school and noticed the mail already dispersed over the table. My eye catches on the latest Nickelodeon Magazine; I become excited in my head, getting to see one of my favorite magazines finally make it. Something catches my eye though. There is a note attached to the inside flap of the magazine, which says

This issue, the 159th of NICKELODEON MAGAZINE, will be our final one. Yes, we know- it’s sad news. For the last 16 years it has been our pleasure and privilege to entertain and educate you. And we hope that our many, many loyal readers have enjoyed every issue of what we think was a fantastic kids’ magazine. It’s one of our greatest joys to meet people who grew up with Nick Mag. One thing we’re really proud of is that we’ve helped instill in them a lifelong love of reading…. Often, when we tell people that we work at Nick Mag, their first response is, “Wow! That must be so much fun!” Yes it was. Thank you again, Laura Galen, Senior Vice President/ Editorial Director, and the magazine staff.

I was heartbroken when I heard the news that Nick Magazine was ending its  production. I was one of the many that grew up reading it. The magazine came out the exact year and month I was born, so it was pretty easy to tell how much the magazine aged as I had, and so I felt a connection to it. Of course, at heart Nick Mag is still a kid, even though I am well into growing up, and so putting it to a rest to me is growing out of it. Gosh, I had so many memories when reading the magazine. I especially loved the comics, the monthly themes of articles, and the hundreds of pranks that kept me laughing. I used to collect every single magazine that came in the mail and I would read them repetitively in my room or anywhere around the house. They never got old; I could just go back to reading an issue from months ago and have it all be new to me. My parents would get upset because they took up took much room on my shelves and had me get rid of them, but I kept on saving them to look at in my free time. As a grew up, I’d backed down on keeping strict attention to every page, and I’ve started to move on with my own life, focusing on schoolwork and other people or things that interested me. At heart, I still am a kid, and this magazine is definitely difficult to lay down in a grave to be lost forever. It really is hard to move on sometimes.

I’m moving again. In the past it has been pretty upsetting to move, I mean anyone can relate: having to pack everything in boxes, having to throw out anything that takes up too much space or things that you don’t need anymore. It’s really difficult to have to throw away toys or games that you’ve played when you were little. I felt so cold inside when my dad told me I had to throw out all of my teddy bears before the move to our next house. I mean, I guess I was growing up and didn’t play with them anymore, but still, they were mine, and I had loved them at the time and didn’t want to see them go away to be donated or thrown out. Moving on is like one of those friendship bracelets in the shape of a hear that is split down the middle. One friend gets one half while the other gets to have the other half. By throwing these toys and games away, it’s just taking a part of that friendship bracelet and destroying it, being left with half of a heart, lonesome, useless, and meaningless. The memories remain in that one half of the heart, but it feels depression because of the lost other co-part. It is agony having to push something away from you that you used to cherish. Parents don’t understand that; they don’t understand those feelings that come into play before a big move. If only they understood and had you keep all of those things from childhood that you used to enjoy. It’s nice to look back on what you used to love later in life, to show it to your children or grandchildren and have them understand your memories you’ve had.


Childhood VII – Halloween

Halloween:
the epitome
of childhood.
An Unlimited
supply of candy.
Lugging that spooky

plastic pumpkin around. Seems as though there
is never enough space to store all that candy. A bottomless pit
of a bag is necessary to use to satisfy that unlimited sweet tooth. Returning
home, tired, late at night, weak, but most importantly, satisfied. Dumping the
pile on the living room table at seven o’clock at night. Theres no time to stop
for dinner, the trade must commence. “Will you trade me that Kit-Kat for  those
Snicker Bars?” “Can I have your Gummy Bears? I’ll give you my Three Musketeers.”
Mom plays that Charlie Brown Halloween Special as the long evening starts to unwind.
Halloween: the torture of adulthood. Waiting by the dressing room as junior tries on his
Pirate costume. Advertisements stressing the purchase of holiday decorations. Having
to come home early just to give out candy. Enjoying the special adult movie while
the kids are out. For only a few minutes, the sofa feels just so nice. Found the perfect
position on the cushion. And then it hits… DING-DONG!!! The dog starts barking
continuously as the house falls into chaos. Sprinting to the door as to not miss
another moment of the film. TRICK-OR-TREAT!!! Grabbing into the cauldron
of sugar-coated sugar-flavored sugar. Handing out the proper amount
to each little tike. Returning to the sofa, only to be forced
up repeatedly until the end of the long night
comes.

Gosh, I am going to miss those years of Halloween when I was little; to just go on a quest for candy with my buddies. It seems as though everyone was lacking the common sense that they could just eat the candy that Mommy bought at Walgreens instead of going out and getting some. Everyone went on a search to find the house that gave away those king-size chocolate bars, and I know that everyone thought in their head, “God D*mmit!” when that one family gave out caramel cubes as an excuse for candy. It was always hilarious how some people just left a giant candy bowl in front of their house with a little sign that said, “Please take two.” Eventually, someone would come around and snatch the entire bowl just for the heck of it, and that would be that. What I really hated were the candy corns that came on the shelves around October. I actually thought they were made of corn (yeah, I know), and so the idea of trying one disgusted me. It wasn’t until I was a lot older that I actually realized why so many people enjoyed them.

Probably the most important element of Halloween was how much I loved to wear costumes. I loved to dress up like my favorite superheroes when I was around five years old. I would even wear the costume when I went to sleep because I just loved being in character. I guess that is why I used to love acting when I was little, because I could have an out-of-body experience as another character. Every kid must have wanted to act. I don’t know where we all lost it: the sparks of creativity in artwork, singing, dancing, and acting. We used to love to get active and move around. That’s why they have playgrounds, so that little kids can release their energy. Anyway, that feeling just left one day without any notice. I know that feeling of creativity left a little when I was about ten.  What I really regret about Halloween is that I rarely chose a costume to wear after I lost that feeling inside. I mean, Halloween is just one day, so my parents always thought that I would have to wear the same costume next year. I think I know what it is; we are all falling to our peers, causing us to lose out costume-wearing spirit.

Decorations also played a huge part of what made Halloween so special. For our family, every year we would decorate by buying those fake spider webs that can be stretched over a bush or tree to make it look haunted. Even though it was always a huge mess to clean up afterward, it was our family tradition. My mom would always have us make decorations for the house using orange and black paper. My sister and I would cut it into different patterns to create paper lanterns and shades for the windows. Unfortunately, the paper lanterns would always deform and just fall off the string and the shades would always collapse days before Halloween. In the end, my dad would save the day and go out to buy last minute decorations for our house. I’ve always wanted to have a house that was extravagantly decorated in ornaments. I mean, to a level in which you can not even see the lawn because there are so many inflatables and what-not on the grass. We would actually spend time driving through neighborhoods during the night and hunt for houses with insane decorations.

Connor: I remember Halloween when I was a tot. I remember going to Spirit  (a costume store) with my mom and sister and picking out wacky costumes. When I was around three or four, I was Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. I loved that costume so so so much that I wore it for two Halloweens in a row! I think I liked it so much because it looked like a dog costume (sort of) and everyone knows how much four year olds love dogs! More recently, however, my costumes have deviated from Disney cartoon characters. Last Halloween was uncomfortable for me, unfortunately. Even though I was a week from turning fourteen, I felt as though my trick or treating days were coming to a close. I wore an afro wig last year, by the way. I clearly remember one year, when I was about ten, when my sister, Mia, my parents, and I were trick or treating. We walked upon this vastly decorated house with just decorations galore. It was impossible to see the stucco of the house behind all the spiderwebs and fog machines. I wanted candy badly though, so I walked up to the front door where a cauldron of candy laid next to a skeleton or something in a black cloak. My sister then came to grab candy, after seeing that it was safe. She was about seven at the time. Anyway, as she put her hand in the cauldron; that skeleton that I thought was a prop… was actually a person. The man in the costume screamed so loudly that my sister dropped her candy and pumpkin bucket. It took my parents a good twenty minutes to calm Mia back down. I was just standing there all like wow, what just happened? That night was probably the spookiest Halloween experience I ever had. Surely, Mia still remembers it vividly.

Halloween is full of just so many memories of fun, food and fright that should not be put aside just because of mere age. It really doesn’t matter how old you are, there is some way to get in the holiday spirit. Please, don’t be that shut-in sitting at home thinking, “those pesky kids…” Instead, get out and greet kids in costume at the doorstep. It will save your sanity and will save yourself from constant interruptions. Most importantly, let your inner child out! Let that energy inside come out in praise of this youthful day!

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A Collaborate Post
By Michael and Connor



Childhood VI – Reading

“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book” (Proust). Growing up with reading is something that I will cherish for a long time. I remember starting out reading books by Dr. Seuss, one of the most famous childrens’ authors of all time. I always enjoyed the illustrations on each page and how each one has a burst of creativity on it. They were the kind of images that could never escape your mind. Of course now, all the English teachers at my school criticize them by saying that they can be misleading and it is what limits the child’s creativity. Well, I completely disagree with that; children use those pictures as a guide to help them understand the reading at such an early age. They can not be held accountable for understanding every word in the text.  Anyway, it seems as though every kid in America at one time was read a picture book before going to bed or curled up in a parents lap next to a fireplace. These classic stories continue on into the later years- even after that child has grown up. Don’t think they go away forever! You might end up reading it to your child or grandchild… or better yet… see a movie based on that book! Over the years, books have been transformed into movies with an extended plot line. This weekend, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs was released as a movie; one of my favorite books to read as a child.

With no doubt, the one that the public is most excited for is the movie Where The Wild Things Are, which is released October 16th. The preview of the film looks so deep; it sends shivers down the spine… “Inside all of us is hope, fear,  adventure, and a wild thing” I’ve heard that the director added an extended plot to that movie to give it a realistic meaning.  I found out a pretty nice selection of artwork for the movie created by a large number of artists with different renditions. Click Here. Even if you are now past childhood, it really still is a movie for everyone. It’s nice to look back at those earlier years and this movie provides a key to that gate that has locked up your childhood forever. See the movie and release your inner wild thing; it has been waiting to come out all these years!

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Childhood V – Pets

dead_fish1Pets, pets, and more pets! If there was anything that any little kid would be obsessed about, it would be animals. I mean, who could ignore those cute little things? Remember going to the petting zoo when you were little? There was one right by my house at a farm a couple of blocks away. If there is something that I loved about childhood, it was definitely getting to be around animals. Stroking their nice, soft fur, watching them play around in their pens, there’s no doubt why most little kids wanted to have a pet growing up. Especially because of all of those cartoons with talking animals doing “people things”,  little kids might imagine that maybe an animal would actually play with them– like a human would. After growing up with the Bernstein Bears or reading Corduroy, I actually thought that a bear would be… fun! I felt like I could hug an actual bear, maybe cuddle with one to get me to sleep at night. But it turns out that if you try it might rip your arms off or eat you alive.  I remember our family never managed to get a pet because of family members having allergies. Whenever the chance came up, I would repeatedly ask my parents to get me a dog just like our neighbors, or a hamster, just like the house down the street. At such an early age, of course parents would decline the request because kids aren’t that responsible to feed, walk, and care for an animal. My first pet, and probably everyone else, was a fish. Just a small little sliver of a fish that would swim around in such a tiny glass bowl.  They were so easy to get around! I remember getting it at Walgreen’s for a dollar. Don’t you remember getting them at the carnival? You had to throw that little plastic ball into the hole and the guy would give you this little fish and you had no idea what to do with it. Just like a toy, you would watch it swim around for a while, and the next thing you know, you are completely neglecting the animal. It’s the same cycle over and over again:
Step 1:
Fish holds your attention. You are very attached to the animal, feeding it once a day just like your mommy told you. You keep the bowl adequately clean. This usually lasts one to three days.
Step 2:
Fish holds your attention slightly. You forget to feed it every once in a while. The glass bowl starts to get green and the pebbles on the bottom are slightly discolored. This usually lasts two to four days.
Step 3:
Fish barely holds attention. You completely ignore the fish, feeding it only when you have nothing else to do, so it is basically surviving by eating its own feces (Eww). The glass bowl is completely green, you can not see a thing through the glass. This step usually lasts three to five days.
Step 4:
“Mommy! Look at my fish, he’s sleeping!” “Sorry hun, I think it’s dead”.
How tragic.
Well, at least Mr. Toilet is happy…

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Edited By Mark Savin

Childhood IV – Responsibilities

Job, school, work, homework, friends, making your own plans, following directions; these are all responsibilities one assumes as they grow up. When you’re a little tike, you may have a few responsibilities, such as following the ‘golden rule.’ Or perhaps you have to apologize to someone for stepping on their foot. Adults try to give a couple of responsibilities to start out with in order to shape you up for balancing even more. They hope that these will form you into a more responsible person when you get older. For example, they encourage you to be responsible for your language.

“Remember when you were in kindergarten and the teachers always told you to be polite? They would always to tell you that you should never call anyone in the classroom “weird” or “stupid”. This little lesson, they hoped, would help you grow up profanity free and become a polite adult” (Clonez, 4/11/09).

It really wasn’t a big deal at the time, but as you grow older, you are held a lot more responsible, like contributing to society by having a job or paying attention in school, which means you are obligated to do homework, and if you don’t, that teacher will hold you responsible and punish you with a bad grade.

Personally, I am a quite responsible person. I’m not old enough to have a job yet, but I go to school, I learn, I get outstanding grades, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. I’m very forgetful when it comes to doing things around the house, which makes my mom mad. She punishes me by taking things away, to try to make me more responsible.

There are ways that parents try and use what you love against you to make you more responsible. Although this may sound a little confusing at first, it really is pretty simple. For me, I just love to cook in the house on my own. No matter what dish I may be making, there is always a mess to clean up afterward. Parents try to shape you correctly from the start by using your favorite activities to make you responsible. My parents use to always tell me to clean up after cooking, and that is what I’ve started to do, even without them telling me.

As a 14 year old, I’m also responsible for making friends and coming up with my own plans, which I am not good at, at all. I get really anxious when it comes to making friends, so I don’t have any. I just have five or so really close friends who I do things with. However, most of the time I am just at home. None of my friends feel like doing anything, which leads me to have to make my own fun. I’m bad at that too. If I have no one to talk to, I just turn into a vegetable and watch TV until one of my friends becomes available. Not fun. At all.

Connor

Edited By Mark Savin