Thick and Thin

Three years ago, my experience with the notions of “thick” and “thin” changed from personal to parental. As a woman in my forties and the United States, thick and thin typically applies to my thighs or other body parts. But years ago, thick and thin applied to one mighty thing in my life: envelopes; envelopes from colleges and scholarships and various applications.

Three years ago, Biggest entered that point in his life where he too became familiar with thick and thin envelopes. We dealt with his disappointment back then (you can read about it here) but by the time he entered the honors program at our middle school, both he and we were excited about his potential experience to be had there. Continue reading

Gatekeepers and the C-word

If you are in the young adult writing community, you know that the Wall Street Journal published an article on Saturday about young adult literature.  The author, Meghan Cox Gurdon, writes her opinion of young adult literature.  There were elements of her argument that I agree with and elements that made me shake my head.  But mostly it made me remember a time in my life when I was the gatekeeper and was the dreaded object of the C-word: censorship.  And so, between the flurry of tweets using the hashtag #YASaves and the article, I suddenly was caught up in the emotional maelstrom of a time I thought could no longer hurt quite as much as it still does.

For ten years I was a teacher.  I may have included the modifiers of “high school” or “English” but the foundation always rested firmly on being a teacher.  And while I haven’t been a “paid” teacher of that sort since 2004, I will always be a teacher in my heart and will always be involved in the teaching of others whether they are my children or the children and teens I work with in my current job.  And while I was a good teacher for most of my students, I was a great teacher for some as well as a terrible teacher for others.  My teaching ability didn’t change depending upon the class period or age of students.  Instead the variables at work were relational — how well did my students and I connect and how well did my student connect with the subject material.  The one variable that remained constant was my care and commitment to my students.  I note this “non-fact” because some parents and students thought I was doing the absolute best by their student.  And yet there were the folks who really, truly believed I was trying to harm students.

Why?  How?  Simply by asking students to read books that challenged them.

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Dealing With Disappointment

I am freshly returned from sixteen day’s travel in France and London and had planned on posting some lovely travel related ditty today.  But life is full of twists and turns and so this post will follow that way.  But don’t worry.  I’ll bore you with travel stories soon.  Just not today.

Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean is a point of land that always reminds me of a bony chin.  In 1788, Captain John Meares named that bony outcropping Cape Disappointment as a way of summing up his failure to find what is now known as the Columbia River.  Travel to Cape Disappointment today and you will see the most frequently visited Washington State Park.  There is no disappointment to be found anywhere.  Just lovely beaches, beautiful trees, and the oldest still-functioning lighthouse on the west coast.  Time has passed and what was once disappointing has instead turned into a thing of wonder.

And isn’t that how life is?

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