Thursday, August 30, 2007

Writing Contest for Kids Under 15

The bright youth of today can be intimidating. Sure, movies come to mind with the type-A personality high school students running for some seat in student government (Reese Witherspoon in Election comes to mind). But, as my husband would say, "it's a movie. Don't take it so seriously."

When confronted with a 14 year-old who is probably smarter than me, I can't help but recoil in shock...horror...envy. LA Times writer Steve Lopez reacted differently when confronted with his friend's precociously clever Rebekah; he initiated a writing contest.

"I'm calling on youngsters 15 and under to show me what you can do. You can write about what parents don't know about kids. You can explain how we can be better parents. You can lay out what really bugs you about us.

Or, like Rebekah, who just graduated from King Middle School's magnet program in Silver Lake, you can tell us what chores need to be done while you're doing more important things. And if you've already written a set of going-away instructions, like Rebekah, feel free to submit it.

Keep the essays under 500 words and include your name, city or neighborhood and phone number. And parents, DO NOT try to cheat and write the essays for your children. I'll be able to tell, and I'll have you reported to the authorities. Besides, if you're like me, you probably can't write as well as your children anyway.

The winner will get a Los Angeles Times shirt and cap, a tour of the newspaper and lunch in the cafeteria, and the winning essay will be posted on The Times' website. That means someone out there will be able to boast, for the rest of his or her life, of having been a published writer before being old enough to drive."

As for Rebekah, upon leaving for summer camp in Malibu, she laid out a "to-do" list for her parents to follow through on in her absence. A few of the line items are listed in the article, and she's a busy, busy girl. Most impressive for me was knowing that at her age, she can be this insightful.
"'Attend the global warming thing for LACER and film it, please. If they want me to say something, then say, 'I ask you to remember that it isn't the people with cars, air conditioners, running water, electricity, and medicine that are hit first by global warming. Think of the people who don't have these privileges when you decide what you are going to do to keep our environment livable.'"

I'm pretty sure I wasn't thinking of saving the Earth at 14. Self-realization is a b*&$^.