Monday, August 23, 2010

Life Is Choices



When the fifth-graders' "cruise day" showed up, I was in a serious snit. I was about to lose four actors to an all-day outing when I needed them for our technical rehearsal.

I arrived at the school early to see how this would play out. I knew the parents had been informed of the conflicted schedule because I'd called each one to explain that, as unfortunate as these circumstances were, they and their offspring had agreed when signing up for The Shakespeare Club that mandatory attendance was Rule One.

I ran into ten-year-old Faith, one of our Narrators for the play.

"Hi, Faith, what have you decided to do today?"

She looked at the ground and then looked back up to me. Her eyes were wet.

"Well, I'll stay for rehearsal."

"Really? That's fantastic, Faith. You're my hero. If you do this the others will follow. I'm so proud of you."

Let me be clear: The children should never have had to make this decision.

I went into the school office where I saw Faith's mother waiting to speak to our principal.

I introduced myself because, even though her daughter had been in the club for two years, she and I had never met.

"I just spoke to Faith and it seems she has decided against the cruise trip, is that your understanding?"

"No, it is not," Mrs. Mom answered with a chilly look.

"Oh, alright then."

"I want my daughter to be happy. I want her to make a choice that will make her happy. That's what I want."

"If I may say, that choice doesn't exist. If she stays she will miss something and if she goes she will miss something. There is no happy choice, it's just a choice. Faith plays softball, she knows what teamwork means."

"Of course she understands the importance of teamwork, but I want her to be happy."

I believe Faith grasps the meaning of teamwork. I'm not convinced that the adults around her entirely get the concept. We have to do better. Life is a series of choices and they're not always obvious, easy or happy-making. They just are.

I watched my four actors walk away with their classmates, teacher and assorted parents carrying bags of potato chips and bottles of soda. The troop climbed on to a bus that would ferry them to a harbor where a boat waited to sail them onto the Pacific.

A choice was made.

CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry

As last year I would like to have a life of adventure. I would like to do the most wildest things.

One wild thing is sky diving. Sky diving because you can fall and see amazing view. Also, go to the South Dakota, black Hills. Finally the Simthsonian in Washington, D.C. I just want to go around the whole world!
—Faith, 5th grade

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