The Importance of Treating Every Child Like a Champion
by Nick Nebelsky
As a writer and publisher of children’s books, I sometimes lose sight of why I chose this profession in the first place. I get caught up in the marketing, the administration of running my own publishing house, the accounting, shipping invoices, and on and on. UGH! And then I think back to a warm Saturday in February, and it all makes sense again.
A few years back, before I began writing children’s books, I volunteered at Washington Elementary School’s Friendship Festival in Phoenix. This is one of the poorest school districts in Phoenix, and yet it is one of the best schools I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. The staff and the children always create an immediate sense of belonging for me. I’ve also participated in RIF (Reading is Fundamental) programs at Washington Elementary School.
This was a festival at which the children could play games, get their faces painted, watch dancers and singers on stage, and just have fun on a warm February day. First I helped set up bleachers and chairs for the stage where dancers and singers showed off their talents. As more and more children filled the grassy field, they asked me if I wanted to help out with some of the games. I moved to “carpet bowling!” It was basically a six-foot piece of thin carpet, six plastic bowling pins, and a heavy plastic bowling ball. At first, I was only getting a few kids here and there. Many distractions surrounded me: a bounce house, face painting, even the stage was pretty close. How was I going to get kids to come over and try the lawn bowling?
For every child who walked up to that line of masking tape, I made sure that EVERYONE knew he or she was already a CHAMPION before they rolled their first ball. I kindly asked the child’s first name and then yelled at the top of my lungs, “AND NOW, THE DEFENDING WORLD CHAMPION OF LAWN BOWLING, MARCUS!” I then stood up and clapped as hard as I could. Heads turned, parents looked, and children ran over to see what the commotion was. More kids came running over, and before I knew it, we had a huge crowd around us. We had more WORLD CHAMPIONS in one place than any Olympics or national event EVER!
That’s when it all came into perspective for me. Children should be treated as CHAMPIONS each and every day. If I can give them that feeling of accomplishment with a silly little bowling game, I can certainly draw or write a book that will do the same. Isn’t that why we write in the first place – to make a difference? If you can do this, the marketing will take care of itself. Sometimes just showing up makes all the difference in the world! We can’t sit back and watch as our kids grow up around us. We need to let them all know how special they are before they even try. Children need to come first – whether we’re volunteering, encouraging, teaching, or writing for them. Children need to know that they are already CHAMPIONS!
Nick Nebelsky is the President of Intense Media, LLC in Gilbert, AZ. He writes, illustrates, and finds new ways to inspire children through his words and pictures. He has written, illustrated, and published 10 apps, two printed books, and one ebook. He is currently writing his first YA novel, which he hopes to finish by year’s end. For additional information, please visit Nick’s web site.