Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

On December 28, 2010 by Aimee


Okay … well, that may be a lofty ideal when you are plagiarized or copied.

In my case though, I actually mean it and my reference is to my children.

My kids brought home their report cards just before Christmas break. My son managed … for the first time in a year, to get an ‘A’ in language arts — a subject he has not excelled in for many reasons. My girls on the other hand? Well … let me describe why their grades impressed me so.

Every Monday morning at school, the girls write in their notebooks about what happened the previous weekend. My girls are 6, mind you, so what comes of a 6 year old many not be the most clear, but it will be concise. How many 6 year-olds do you know who like to indulge in creative thinking when tasked with writing? Sure when they are talking but with writing comes an altogether different ‘skill set’.

My son’s ‘A’ in his ‘English’ class? A surprise. He despises having to put his thoughts onto paper, let alone enhancing them with facts, figures, details, exposition, etc. No no … at 13, he’s well and fine with short, blank, empty sentences that give little of his own personality into his work.

Now back to my girls. What might normally be Monday morning drivel for some kids, turns into PAGES of storytelling … yes, front back, margins, 2nd pages, the front and back of those, etc.

That’s not the only place they write like that. These two send letters to just about anyone and they’ll fill up the page with their stories… real, true-to-life stories and emotions and thank-yous and happily ever afters.

They write plays too … generally for puppets (or finger puppets) and then hide behind the couch with the request that we sit on the floor so we won’t accidentally see their heads while they read off said ‘play’ — which often consists of a plot. The latest? Four bunnies got lost in the woods and one bunny saved them. Yep … that’s actually a plot.

Reminder: my girls are 6 years old.

Now here is where the imitation comes in and I only wish I’d been this way when I’d first had my son, but when he was 6, I was only 29 and that I think was too young for me to see the value as much as I do now … ahem … 7 years later.

I have been a photographer for 6 years … and there my son excels. Since he turned 11 he has worked or assisted me on small weddings and events — shooting photographs which then became part of a couple’s wedding album.

My girls though have also seen me read, read, read and write, write, write. They watch over my shoulder. They try to read what I’m writing (though I have to hide some scenes). They see me in my constant state of ‘creation’ and mimic that … they imitate me.

The fact that their Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers promote such writing endeavors? That Grandma and Grandpa love to get letters? That I will offer them reams of paper of they will write for me? All that fills their need to write ‘gene’ (that’s what I’m calling ti anyway).

So … they do. On their report cards this year, my girls received a ‘4’ in Reading … which is the highest possible grade and puts them ahead of their ‘age level’ by about 1 grade level. In writing? 3* which means they have mastered some areas and are working toward absolute proficiency.

Mind you this is 6 year-olds we’re talking about … but at 6 … my girls love to read, love to write and since they’ve seen me do exactly that for the last couple of years, I KNOW it’s imitation and I hope, crossed my fingers, etc. it stays.

As for my son? Photojournalist perhaps? 🙂

These are three who can imitate me all they want and for them I will be nothing less than ecstatic.