Slice of Life:  Sometimes It Is The Realization That Matters   #SOL19  #TWTBlog

Slice of Life: Sometimes It Is The Realization That Matters #SOL19 #TWTBlog

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Or maybe the big idea is that if you don’t push yourself to do things you are afraid of … you might never realize what you were built to be…

I have read After the Fall by Dan Santat to elementary students countless times. It always strikes me when a young friend has a point of view or response that is new to me.  Most young readers get to the last page and begin to rattle off the predicted themes:

-       Face your fears

-       Never give up

-       You will never know until you try

-       If at first you don’t succeed

-       It’s okay to fail

You get the idea.  Kids typically focus on what the character or the reader will miss if they don’t get back up.  These conversations usually are filled with encouragement and optimism.  Kids say face your fears like it just something everyone does because you should.  Sometimes, while from a literary perspective these kids are right on, the conversations don’t feel authentic. I am not always sure they are considering the message themselves.

The words of this one young friend:

Or maybe the big idea is that if you don’t push yourself to do things you are afraid of … you might never realize what you were built to be…

felt really authentic to me.  He went beyond the obvious theme and considered motivation and purpose. 

Many of us, me included, don’t face our fears simply to say we faced them.  I don’t feel the need to get to the top of the wall simply to prove I can or to show I know how to persevere.  The climb and moment of truth is not what makes me feel successful. 

I think about some of the times in my life when I had to face my fears.  I was not happy at the moment of truth.  I did not get to the top or the end and feel filled with pride and accomplishment.  In fact, I am often miserable at that moment.  I want to be done, get back down, or retreat to my comfort zone.  I don’t have a Rocky Balboa moment. 

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VS.

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The realization for me comes after.  When I look back, I can think about what it took to get back up and use that to propel me in the future.  I remember the “self-talk.”  I remember it was not glorious.  I remember I was unhappy.  I remember not even enjoying the moment of truth.  All of this reminds me that what I do, I do for myself.  I do it to help me realize who I am, who I am meant to be, and who I am yet to discover.

This young reader understood a much bigger message in this book.  It is not about that one moment, it is about the many moments after that moment. It is what you do with the accomplishment.  It is about the realization and one’s identity. 

Later this reader found me.  He took the book and opened it to this page:

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See this is what matters, not the climb, this…

 

                                                                                                Clare

 Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers, and teachers here.

Slice of Life:  Reading Can Push You To Embrace Your Journey  #SOL19  #TWTBlog

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