This week, water is my day job. The American Waterworks Association is celebrating the 30th annual Drink Water Week, and, in honor of that, HuffPost Healthy Living recently rounded up ways to trick yourself into drinking more. As the community editor, I'm collecting photos of how you stay hydrated.
But water doesn't really come up at my other job, where I'm a writing instructor for elementary school kids with Writopia, a creative writing non-profit. But on a recent afternoon, my double lives in health media and storytelling la la land collided.
The issue of water came up when one boy hit a wall writing his story about getting grounded and not being able to play baseball. We often play writing games to get the brilliant group of young scribes flowing again. It hit me. Water week. Water is one of those words that isn't easy to describe, yet it's a topic that links us as humans because we all need it to survive.
Unusual portrayals and universal elements are what makes good stories great and, since the word "water" fit the bill, I asked the kids to describe it. In seconds, they were swapping health advice, sharing environmental wisdom and using poetry to illustrate water as they see it.
Health typically isn't the type of content kids gravitate to. In the past, for example, their stories have been convoluted (yet endearing) journeys with characters like Mr. Bean, a man traveling to Europe to find his long lost brother, or Petunia, a talking snail who must flee from her garden or risk dying from a bug-spray related death.
However, their take on water had me thinking that kids could teach us a few things about the beauty and value of nature's essential liquid. Below are a few of their passionate narratives.
"What Water Could Be" by Beatrice, Age 9 (The Philosopher)
Water is clear like a crystal. It is beautiful. Water is like a provider. It gives us drink. It's blue as a blueberry. Water is like a king. You can't make it do anything. A famous King tried to in the past. Water cheers you up on a bad day. It is like a caretaker. Water cares. It lets you take part of it. Water is like a pool of tears from Heaven.
Ava, Age 11 (The Environmentalist)
Humans need water to survive, as well as all other living organisms. Without water to drink, we would dehydrate in a matter of days. Also, people bathe in water. But humans have been taking advantage of water being at their fingertips. Humans use water all the time. Humans waste the water, which is bad for the environment. Water covers 70 percent of the world, but lately people have been taking saltwater and turning it into freshwater, and dumping the salt back in the ocean. If this continues, then the sea life could die from too much salt in the ocean. All drinks contain the smallest bit of water.
Luke, Age 9 (The Social Scientist)
It's something that flows all over the earth. People drink it to refresh themselves. Silky and clear, like glass. It can be warm and cold but always refreshing.
Sophia, Age 11 (The Activist )
Water is an amazing thing. It keeps us alive, clean and feeling fresh. But only sometimes. It keeps you healthy because your body is 70 percent water!! The 30 percent ... I don't know what the rest is. It keeps you feeling clean because you shower with it. You also take baths and wash your face. I didn't mention this but it also keeps you feeling cool in the heat of the summer. You can go to pools, lake and creeks. So let's try to keep it.
Cecilia, Age 9 (The Poet)
Drink, Flow, Drop, Thirsty, Clear, Rush, Loud, Noise, Gush, Sprinkle, Life