The World's Largest Porch Swing and Nurturing Talent
The memory of her family's visits to the World's Largest Porch Swing in Hebron, Nebraska, sustains Mibs during the bumpy bus ride to Salina where her seriously injured father is hospitalized.
Wackiness like The World's Largest Porch Swing has a sweetness in Savvy and has nothing to do with kitschiness. Instead, Law is inviting us to celebrate uniqueness wherever we find it, especially in ourselves. So if you can't make it to Hebron to see the swing, the World's Largest Things website will tell you what's unique in your neck of the woods, i.e. Kingsburg California's World's Largest Box of Raisins; Minnesota's World's Largest Ball of Twine, or Oklahoma's World's Largest praying hands. Another good website for exploring the larger than life is the Roadside America website which includes Anniston, Alabama's World's Largest Chair, an office chair made of 10 tons of steel.
Law's savvys also makes us think about children, their talents, and how to nurture them. In Savvy, the Beaumont children are home schooled once their savvys begin to manifest themselves. Being at home gives them the safety, privacy and space they need to discover, experiment with and understand their gifts. Duke University's Talent Identification Program suggests, "Parents can best recognize creative talent by giving their children opportunities to explore many realms of expression and noting their interests and abilities. Indeed, motivation in childhood is probably a better predictor of adult talent than ability. Abilities develop over time, but the tenacity to pursue an area of interest usually shows up early."
The Duke website includes E. Paul Torrance's "Manifesto for Children," which exhorts each child to honor his or her special gifts:
Don't be afraid to fall in love with something and pursue it with intensity.
Know, understand, take pride in, practice, develop, exploit and enjoy your greatest strengths.
Learn to free yourself from the expectations of others and to walk away from the games they impose on you.
Free yourself to play your own game.
Find a great teacher or mentor who will help you.
Learn the skills of interdependence.
Don't waste energy trying to be well rounded.
Do what you love and can do well.
This article was originally published in June 2008, and has been updated for the
March 2010 paperback release.
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