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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Paper Doll Cut Outs

Most of us made those folded paper cut out dolls. We'd take paper and fold it a few times before taking a pair of scissors to it to free the row of hand holding dolls. I'd play with couples and ladies in big dresses to the best of my cutting abilities, sometimes taking little bits of tape to connect multiple strands of the faceless little paper dolls to string across my room. There is nostalgia attached to the images of these and images of strands of them in a girl's room or strung across a Christmas tree. I don't remember how I learned or who taught me, it was something that little girls did.

While I do not remember learning, I do remember very clearly a little girl that I taught. I was spending my summer living and working at a summer camp that catered towards families and groups with kids. A little girl of maybe 9 or 10 was there for the week with her dad and spent part of each day doing crafts with me. In the beginning her dad came with her, but my the middle of the week he would often came and pick her up. One day she had came to visit and at some point I realized that she had never seen anyone cut this strands of paper dolls that I remembered so from childhood and did not know how. Folding some construction paper I cut a strand of the simple dolls and then a few more to show her different forms. She was mesmerized and I watched her attack the new project with gusto (and a pair of scissors). By the time her dad arrived she had a whole collection of strands laid out around her. It was something so simple, but something that she couldn't wait to share with her dad and something that made her day.

I realized again that day the reminders that come often when working with people and the importance of the simple joys. I didn't solve world hunger or end war or poverty that day, but in that simple act I realized how important I was in that little girl's eyes at that moment. I could have taught her anything new, it wouldn't have mattered, what was important was that I took the time teach her something and that I just took the time. I also got to see the joy a parent can have merely by basking in the light of his child's excitement and celebration.

Generation before me cut out strands of simple paper dolls and hopefully generations after me will as well. Maybe I served a part in keeping that going, a continuing strand... much like the simple little dolls themselves.

Coloring outside the lines is a fine art. ~Kim Nance

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