When I went into administration, I found myself reading more professional literature, and recently, I have my Personal Learning Network to provide me with blogs, articles, research, and suggestions about leadership, educational policy, and teaching and learning. I found myself needing a balance, though, and my just-before-bedtime routine included reading books by Baldacci, Connelly, Child, and other favorite authors.
Recently, my grandson asked his dad for a boxed set of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series for his birthday. His special day isn't until the end of May, but Grandma and Grandpa quickly went on Amazon and purchased the set for him. "Why wait?" we thought. "If he wants to read it now, we should get it for him now." Since so many of our students (especially boys) seem to love the Wimpy Kid series, I decided I should read the book. It took me a few days to get through it, but I can see its appeal for young boys. It's easy to read, has cartoon-like illustrations, the number of words on a page aren't overwhelming, and the main character is pretty believable and amusing.
I realized that since my boys are grown and I am no longer in the classroom and my grandsons don't live here in Hawaii :-( , I really haven't kept up with too many of the recent books that have been published. So I resolved to visit our library more often to borrow some of those books that are popular with our students.
Two of the books I recently finished had a similar theme. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper and Wonder by R.J. Palacio made me feel so many different emotions - anger, sadness, joy. Both of the main characters have challenges that they must overcome to be accepted by their peers. In Out of My Mind, Melody has cerebral palsy and though she cannot speak, she has a curious mind and an amazing memory. Auggie, the main character in Wonder, has facial deformities but he is a bright, funny child who just wants to be accepted. Both stories made me laugh sometimes, but it also made me upset to feel the cruelty of students towards Melody and Auggie.
Our librarian shared that Wonder had been voted the winner of this year's Nene Award by the children on Hawaii, and she insisted that I read it. I'm so glad I did. There are lessons in this book about acceptance, overcoming adversity, resiliency, and kindness. Yes, kindness. Mr. Browne, Auggie's English teacher, shared one precept a month, and the precept for the first month of school was by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer: "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind."
Choose kind. Random acts of kindness. Treating one another kindly. I believe this is the mantra we need to live by. We should all choose kind, and the world would definitely be a better place.