Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Henry's Adventure


March, 2009

"Here is what I wish for you, long after The Shakespeare Club is over and long after you've left this school."

On the whiteboard I've written:

Peace
Purpose
Adventure



"I want you to have a life of peace, and by that I mean that you will always be able to pay your rent and put food on your table. To do that, I suggest you stick with school, go to college and find a job you love to do."

The room resonates in quiet excitement. Not.


"Second, I want you to have a life of purpose, and I think the best way to find that is to help people even, and especially, when they don't ask you to help.

Mmmm-hmmm, I have them in my grip. Not.


"Finally, I want you to have a life of adventure. Travel is adventure but even if we can't afford a ticket on a plane, bus, train or boat, we can travel other ways. Any ideas?"

"Hey, walk!" cries Luis.

"You can always take a walk and there's a lot to see on a walk, believe me. But one of the best ways to travel is to read. Books can take us all kinds of places. Look where we are just from reading 'Twelfth Night' —"

"Illyria!" Nathan calls out.

"Exactly, we're in a magical place called Illyria. In our journals today I would like you to pick one of these — peace, purpose or adventure — and write about how you see that happening for you. Go!"

After journal writing I always ask if anyone would like to share something they've written. On this day, Henry was busting to share. He hadn't actually written anything, but wanted to wing it with a story. He stood next to me and faced the group.

"My dad."

He stopped and looked up at me and I gave a nod that it was good so far and he could continue.

"Well, anyways...my dad, he goes far away and he has adventures, like you know what?...Like one time he...he was in Antarctica...like where there's so much snow and guess what?...Well, even in all the snow where there's only snow he found a plant!" Henry nodded up and down and up and down at me.

"Really, it's so true...he found a plant growing where there was only snow and I would like to have adventures like my dad and that could be my life."

"Do you mean, Henry, that your dad is a kind of scientist?"

"Yeah, yeah...he's a kind of scientist guy and he goes everywhere!"

"Thank you, Henry for sharing that. I think you will definitely have a life of adventure."

He goes everywhere. He goes everywhere. The phrase haunted me because the one place that dad does not go is home. Henry's dad is not in Henry's life. He's bigger than life in Henry's little head but he's not in Henry's house tucking him into bed at night. He's not reading a story to a little plant called: The Henry.


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
I would built my house out by the beach. My house is going to be the biggest & the prettiest. I'll raise my family there. I'll pay all the bills as long as I stay with my house & family. I'll bring food to my table every day.

Peace is always going to be in my life!
—Meara, 5th grade

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