Thank you to Andrea Hernandez and her fabulous students for a very special morning. Laura really enjoyed her Skype session and is already hitting me up for a webcam. Fortunately, I am in the midst of purchasing a new laptop, and the model that I have in mind has one built in. I foresee fun days ahead.
Roger’s comment on yesterday’s post makes me smile. It’s always wonderful to receive this sort of feedback from those who are familiar with what Laura is doing, as you can imagine. If I had my way, I would be podcasting what she is doing, photographing everything, and using her blog as an example in every workshop that I lead as a staff developer. I don’t do this typically, though, and while I know that people like Roger probably understand my position on this, I know that others wonder why.
The thing is, I have to remember something: this is Laura’s project, not mine.
I can see potential far beyond what Laura is able to, and I understand the significance of the work that she is doing much better than she is capable of at the ripe old age of 11. I’m also eyeing the pitfalls from a parent’s perspective, and as a result, I find myself walking a very fine line here.
Laura does not always enjoy the attention that she gets from this project as much as some kids might. For instance, when I pulled her out of school for her first television interview she was furious with me. While I was thinking of the tremendous learning experience this might have been for her, she was missing a classroom activity that she was looking forward to, and also? Reporters make her really nervous. Laura has no designs on being the poster child for blogging, and I respect this. So, I let her make her own choices when it comes to media attention of any kind. She usually grants interviews to those who promise to focus on the service aspect of what she is doing and those that promise to call attention to the causes she is supporting.
She’s also been approached by various organizations eager to buy ad space from her, including a variety of nonprofits, and while I can see the potential usefulness of this sort of endeavor, I’m not sure this is something that Laura is capable of managing on her own just yet, and I won’t do it for her. To date, she has written every piece of text on every single page of her blog. She learned how to put the widgets on her page by watching me. She creates her own blogroll, responds to comments (or not, which makes me nuts), uploads her own photos and fights me any time I even suggest a post title. She does allow me to edit her writing when she is done, and this is sometimes an ordeal, because she never wants to revise. But I make her do this because I am unreasonable and mean. I’m also a former English teacher. We’re uptight this way.
I refuse to take Laura’s work away from her or take it over in any way. I prompt her to follow through on things at times, but the need for this is rare. She’s enjoying herself. This is how it should be. Laura loves meeting other kids who are doing similar things on and off line. She enjoys being a part of the larger segment of society that is working to make a difference. Like all kids her age, she simply wants to blend.
Laura also doesn’t want to be seen as a show-off. She’s very sensitive to the potential for this, and as a result, she rarely even talks about her blog outside of our home. She’s really a typical 11 year old girl in a million ways. The only thing that makes her different is the fact that when she asked if she could keep a blog, her mom said yes. Imagine what could happen if more moms were willing to do this.