Braeden the Puppet Maker, Artist, Writer and Now Performer

A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting and missed a ton of calls from my nephew. He finally sent this message…

“I called to see if you could cut one of the songs or basically all of them because we only have 3 minutes & I need the music so I will know how much to I have for each scene. Call me I need to start scripting.”

After viewing the three youtube links that he sent, I replied with this…

“If you ever need to download a file from youtube to convert to mp3 clipconverter.cc to then combine multiple tracks into one track, audio-joiner.com

At the time, I had no idea what this kid was up to but I’ve learned over the years to just wait, he would unveil when he was ready.

For weeks, Braeden begged everyone that would listen with a car or funds to take him to various stores for supplies…foam, black material, felt, glue. He stopped face-timing daily and utilized every free second that he had to pour into his current passion project, a Star Wars themed puppet show.

He chose not to make brand new puppets but instead made “costumes” for his current puppets. For example, the coveted role of Yoda went to his white furry puppet, Polar Puff who is now dressed in yoda’s outfit with specially made ears. He wrote a script and listened to hours of youtube, searching for the right musical moments to bring his story alive. (Hence the conversation above)

darthHe also made himself a Darth Vadar robe. He’s planning on an entire suit but his robe and a helmet ordered from Amazon were perfectly sufficient.

Our little creative collaborator even recruited a friend to help, just as he did last year except last year, the friends backed out. So this year, he created a contract binding his friend to his performance. (I found this hilarious)

Braeden’s purpose? He wanted to perform in his school’s talent show, a show so large that kids must audition first. His audition was yesterday.

Today, Braeden and his friend were selected to not only perform but emcee the entire event for both the 5th and 6th grade shows…a pretty big deal for 5th graders to do. Did I mention that he is 11?

Braeden is still very shy…very. (He still won’t talk to the nice woman at the snow cone stand to order his own snow cone)

However, when he creates puppets and performs, he comes completely alive.

Often times, when Braeden’s story is shared, people often view him from an entirely different lens and miss the opportunity to see the correlation between him and the Braedens in their classrooms. No, not all kids have taught themselves high level puppetry skills but every kid has a deeply rooted passion waiting to be unlocked. And by the way, Braeden learning through youtube, a site that we consistently block from kids. What could kids learn if we stopped blocking the largest global warehouse of learning?

Access = Pathways of Creative Opportunities and Passion

That, to me, is what not only makerspaces but opportunities like art, sports, gaming, writing, speaking, entrepreneurship, dance, poetry slams and others are about.

Braeden has had us for years to provide the tools, encouragement and access. The difference between our Braeden and the ones in every other class are those three words. Seriously, what are we waiting for?

In case you missed it, he researched…found his audio, wrote a script, recruited an actor, made his costumes for himself and the puppets that he already made…and oh yeah…took a leap of faith to share his passion with his peers (And eventually the world…stay tuned for next Friday)!

One more thing…not that you have to wait until then but June 17-23rd is the National Week of Making. Take some time this summer and think of how you can make creativity a priority.

Your Braedens need these opportunities too!

Comments 2

  1. Braeden sounds a lot like my Hayden, also a 5th grader with an extravagant imagination (and love for Star Wars). What a lucky kid to have you in his life.

  2. Pingback: That Moment When Adult Decisions Break A Kid’s Spirit | RafranzDavis.com

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