Stephen Shaw

We all want to bring change to the world yet feel inadequate to do so. We tell ourselves that only a small few can bring real change, that a small few own the world. We lose reality’s clarity in the worries of our lives and the constant barrage of a perhaps too connected world that portrays power in the hands of few. Yet even Elon Musk has a dedicated work force behind the scenes of his revolutionary car company, and every president is more of a figure head to a large bureaucracy bringing change through small decisions and actions. In hopes of bringing change, we must shed this predisposition and work on the things that are accessible to us in our everyday lives. With small tasks deeply rooted in wholehearted virtues, we can and will improve the world surrounding us. This is why I see value in authoring a Spanish children’s book, an activity I and my fellow peers undertook this last semester in Intermediate Spanish 201 for donating to Jefferson Elementary school in Winona and Arcadia Elementary in Arcadia, Wisconsin.

Personally, I chose to write about a subject I thought was interesting, had things to learn from, and could come partly from my own knowledge, the ancient Mayan civilization of central and North America. There are many things to learn from the ancient Mayan’s, such as their ability to adapt to their environment and the known workings of their society in culture in general. But an even greater opportunity I saw was to attempt to add value in the idea of looking back at older cultures and learn from them. I hope that the audience, primarily the kids of these schools, will be able to see how unique the Mayan’s were and find value in the artifacts and culture that still exists in that very same region of the world.

I found the process to be somewhat challenging, though ultimately rewarding as well. Through brainstorming the topic and flow of the book, I considered different topics and how they would appeal to my audience, specifically being fifth graders. I then had to write the book completely in Spanish with as few as possible grammatical errors, a task I found complex in completing yet far more manageable when done in small parts at a time. Last came finding a way to illustrate the subject matter. I used photos from the internet curated to my specifications in blending with the content of the book.

Although this activity yields a miniscule impact in the grand scheme of things, it has the capabilities not only to make a small impact on the community around us, yet most notable, it has impacted me. Going through this process allowed myself to better understand and intertwine with others in the world on multiple levels. It challenged me and further illustrated the possibility for change in small action. I hope to take the things learned from this experience and do far more complex and greater things farther down my path, with time improving our world for the better.

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Sarah Stockwell

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