Friday, October 7, 2011

Feeling It

The girl was seven. She entered the kitchen where her mother ironed her dad's shirts. The girl laid her head on the ironing table and wept. Her skinny elbows pointed out sideways and her tears soaked the tops of her small hands.

Her mother set the iron aside and stared at her daughter. What the hell?

The girl could not speak. She was overwrought and words could not form or find their way out of her mouth. She gulped and the tears flooded anew.

The girl had just watched "The Wizard of Oz" and was moved by the story of another girl finding her way home.

This girl was me. To be so touched by a movie, or a play, or a piece of music, was a first for me. And it was entirely pleasurable.

I fear that parents, teachers and coaches are apprehensive about a child feeling anything other than giddy joy. It's okay to be moved. It's a good thing. It's a sign of empathy.

Adults enjoy experiencing a sad story or a scary story. Adults find satisfaction in nostalgia, a perfect sunset or an orphaned dog finding family.

Why can't children have that? Why do we worry when there is gratification in identification?

Many of the children of The Shakespeare Club cried when the year was done, when the show ended and the meetings stopped.

All I could say to their parents was this:

These kids aren't crying because something awful happened to them. They are weeping because they had the best time of their lives.

That's worth a couple of good sniffles.

This is what I loved about Shakespere. I loved everything about it and it was very fun and everybody was very nice. I licked everything about the play and it was very intrest to learn about Shakespeare and I liked meating new people in shakespeare. I really loved how Ms. Ryan helped me and I sad that Miss ryan will have to leav. I give thanks to everybody exept Nick Botem.
—Peter, 3rd grade

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