Friday, August 22, 2008

Accidentally Profound

I believe that the children are our future.  That if we teach them well, and let them lead the way, and show them all the beauty they possess inside, then their laughter can remind us how we used to be.

So, it should come as no surprise that occasionally, one of these well-taught youngsters will come up with something truly profound.  This past week, I’ve come across two such cases.  One student is a current pupil of mine, and the other is a recently former.  I’d like to take all the credit for what they’ve said, but I know that might come across arrogant (even if it is the truth.)

The first, is from my student Pretty (and no I did not give her that name).  I gave the glass, which is reading on a first grade level, the task of copying vocabulary words off the board, and then writing sentences for two of the words.

We’ve been studying a book called “Things that Go.”  Here’s what Pretty came up with for the word “people”:

People is transportation.

My jaw dropped when I first read it.  At first glance, it would appear that the subject and verb don’t agree.  People is third-person plural, while is is the third-person singular form of “to be".

However, I think this presents us with something to ponder.  In this 21st century world with jets that get us across oceans in hours instead of months, and the Internet where we can connect with people instantly, are we really a plurality of people, or are we just one.  One people, together, singular.

Then, this metaphor.  People is transportation.  How true.  Transportation is the very thing that makes us a singular people.  Without transportation, we are all just plural individuals hunting and gathering in solitude.  With transportation “things that make us go” we are singular people.

Well done Pretty!


The next profound statement comes from one of my favorite former students Daniel, another first grade level reader.  I used to think him a pain in the butt when I encountered him in the halls, but after having him in class for a couple months, I found him insightful and funny.

On a recent test for another teacher, Daniel wrote the following:

Flowers are not funny.

The question he is responding to is irrelevant.  What matters is the sentence.  In four words, Daniel captures one of the deep truths existence.

Upon reading this, I have had second thoughts about pursuit of a career in writing.  At one point, my finger came precipitously close to using the delete button on my novel.

Daniel, you are a prophet and a scholar.

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