Jacob and his mom, Olga, picking up a copy of the book we are reading together! Book Club for two.
“The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.” My students always become like family to me… I get caught calling them my kids and on more than one occasion I’ve overheard a couple of them call me mom. Where I am lacking in numbers for a group discussion, Jacob has shown in just two days that he will pull the extra weight. I have spent two days with this young man who is not shy about expressing his opinions and view points. I say to him, “Let’s talk about the personal narrative.” He replies, “Well, can I write a personal narrative in poetry form?” I told him I loved that idea. He recalled a past time in school where he wanted to do just that but was discouraged. That is the difference in having to meet state standards and having to teach a child according to their needs and passions. Let the journey begin.
Today, we finished the third book in Lois Lowry’s Giver series. For twelve years, The Giver has been my favorite. Today, however, The Messenger became my favorite. Today was proof for me that books are meant to be shared, discussed, and analyzed. I love reading alone, but there is no greater joy than a group of people coming together to witness true beauty through words. I was given the amazing opportunity to experience heartfelt emotion twice today with both of my classes. As I read the final chapters, tears came to my eyes and I had to suppress the urge to have a student finish reading aloud so that I could gather my emotion. I finished though, and was privy to a crowd of faces that caught the same connections I did. The students felt the same bittersweet feelings as their teacher as we realized our main character was willingly and tragically sacrificing himself for the world. He was a true HEALER! We had a brief class discussion afterwards but suggested they save their thoughts for the blog. Tonight’s assignment is for them to respond with their thoughts. Below, I share the most poignant passages from today:
With difficulty he leaned painfully toward her, so that his ear was near her mouth.
“We need your gift,” she whispered.
Matty fell back in despair. He had followed Leader’s instructions. He had not spent the gift. He had not made Ramon well, had not fixed Kira’s crooked leg, or even tried to save his little dog. But it was too late now. His body was so damaged he could barely move. He could no longer bend his ravaged arms. How could he place his hands on anything? And what, in any case, did she want him to touch? So much was ruined.
In agony and hopelessness, he turned away from her and rolled off the blanket and into the thick foul smelling mud. With his arms outstretched, his hands touching the earth, he lay there waiting to die.
He felt his fingers begin to vibrate…
Gasping, Matty called for his gift to come. There was no sense of how to direct it. He simply clawed into the earth, feeling the power in his hands enter, pulsating into the ruined world. He became aware, suddenly, that he had been chosen for this….
Kira smoothed his hair. “He called himself the fiercest of the fierce.”
Leader smiled. “He was that. But it was not his true name.”
Kira wiped her eyes. “He so hoped to receive his true name at the end of this journey.”
“He would have.”
“He wanted to be Messenger,” Kira confided.
Leader shook his head. “No. There have been other messengers and there will be more to come.” He leaned down and placed his hand solemnly on Matty’s forehead above the closed eyes. “Your true name is Healer,” he said.