I have to admit, when I first heard the name "Buck Wilder" I thought of the Seinfeld episode where George Constanza came up with his stage name should he pursue a career in adult films.
So I was shocked when my daughter said that Buck had visited her school as part of Reading Month and that we could go hear Buck speak at a "family night."
I'm glad we went.
Buck is the pen name for writer Tim Smith, who has created the Buck Wilder character for a series of books that teach kids about the outdoors. What's interesting about Buck…er, Tim, is his personal story. He didn't begin writing until he was 51, when he decided to take his lifelong experience fishing, hunting, and enjoying the outdoors and share it with a younger generation of kids who spend less time doing those things. The result is very charming and enthusiastically illustrated books that help kids understand camping, fishing, boating and other outdoor pursuits.
But back to Tim. He told the story of his childhood, where everyone around him told him he wasn't too bright and couldn't do certain things.
Now…for those who read earlier and see I didn't complete the post, here's the rest of the story…..
Anyway, he told a story about how they train elephants in India. They take an adolescent elephant and attach a short chain to its neck and pound a giant stake in the ground. The elephant learns that as much as he tries, he can't get away. Eventually, they can replace the stake with a twig, and as long as the elephant sees the chain attached to something on the ground, he won't even try to move.
He used this as a parallel to his own life and his own conditioning, and encouraged the kids not to let anyone else put limits on them. Smith broke away from the limits others had put on him and became a successful author — but not before 11 publishers told him his book would never sell.
My husband has a saying about the word can't…..when he hears it he says "can't died in a cornfield." I have no idea what this means. He doesn't either, but that's what he heard as a kid when he said he couldn't do something.
We can be conditioned either way….to believe in ourselves or to have others put limits on us. But where we began doesn't need to be where we end up. That's up to each of us.
So Inside Quixtar there may be budding athletes, closet musicians, an administrative assistant writing romance novels into the wee hours of the morning. Who are any of us to say they "can't"?