This semester, Heather Spangler and her fellow IYWP volunteers are leading a creative youth journalism workshop at Four Oaks Cedar Valley in Cedar Rapids. Whether or not you’re struggling with love this Valentine’s Day, this post from the budding advice columnists of Cedar Valley is for you. Heather Spangler introduces the project:
This semester the Cedar Valley writing group is focused on journalism. Students chose a publication theme and are writing three stories in three different journalistic styles to match their theme. Themes include basketball, animation, history, dogs, volleyball, dance, music, and beauty. This week, however, the group of elementary and middle school students focused on writing advice columns and answered each other’s questions about love in honor of Valentine’s Day.
I expected lots of giggles and silly responses with this mushy gushy prompt and instead was blown away by these wise, thoughtful kids. Read and learn:
Q: Why is love so hard for some people?
A: Because most times people don’t know they’re in love until they are told by someone else.
Q: Do you know what love is?
A: Yes I do, okay. Love is when you love someone else. You give them hugs and kisses and give them candy. When you love someone, you can’t get them off your mind. I also know you usually don’t know you’re in love until you really get close to know somebody. Most people always wait to claim when they are in love. Sometimes others have to say you’re in love before you, yourself figure it out.
Q: On Valentine’s Day, I know girls like to get flowers and chocolate, but what is a good gift for a boy?
A: Some boys trash flowers. I don’t think it’s not for boys. That’s what I think. Other people think it can be for boys and girls, but my brother trashes other things like my stuff and my mom’s stuff. Boys can get other stuff.
Q: How should you show someone that you love them?
A: Talk to them most of the day and then soon the person you like might like you back. When you’re in a relationship with them you usually hang out with them a lot and let no one tell you you’re wrong because it’s who you love, not anybody else.
Q: Someone I like is kind of shy to talk to me. What do I do?
A: You should start a conversation with them, like ask them what do they like or what do you guys have in common.
Q: What is love? How did love become a thing?
A: Love is something you show. If you love somebody, you should show and tell them how much you love them. Love became a thing because without love everyone will go around killing everyone, telling you the truth.
Q: There are two people I really like. How do I choose?
A: You go with the person that completes your dream. One that makes you laugh and is always smiling and caring. Someone who does not talk about just themself. Never choose one that your friends or family tell you. Go with what your heart tells you. A man that gives good advice and goes through thick and thin with you. Go with the one your heart tells you to go with.
Heather Spangler is a strategic communications writer at the University of Iowa and also teaches in the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She recently revealed to the Cedar Valley kids that she was the hula hoop champion at her elementary school in 6th grade.