Making Over Third Grade!: The Most Profound Lesson
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Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Most Profound Lesson

Recently I was in another class, as part of my coaching job, and the most amazing thing happened. Our district has adopted Benchmark Advance as our English Language Arts program. Unit 1 for third grade is Government for the People.  Though many find this unit dry, I love the history of voting and civil rights. I enjoy the connections third graders make when they learn about Alice Paul, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez. 

This particular day the teacher had decided to focus on text connections and had me read "Horton Hears a Who" to her class. She was hoping that her mostly second language students would be able to make connections to the civil rights leaders they had been studying. Boy did they! 

Some of the connections were quite surprising, such as the connection that Horton was held (in jail) and the Whos nearly killed in Bettle-Nut Oil while Martin Luther King, Jr. had been jailed and people tried to kill him and his family with a bomb. They had a rich discussion but that was not the most amazing part of this visit. 

What came next was. 

A student asked why there is still so much hate and asked if it was because of who the President is. She wanted to know why ICE is looking for people. She wanted to know why the civil rights leaders were able to get rights for people but that the fight has not ended.  Out of the mouths of babes! 

It is hard to explain hate in the world. The students at this school see it perhaps more than others as they are mostly children of color and/or second language. My heart broke and I could tell from the look on their teacher's face, that hers did too. This is a question that shouldn't have to be asked by anyone but especially by an 8-year-old. 

How do you respond to a question like that? 

I went with what was in my heart. I told the class that there has always been hate but that they have to be the kindness and love in the world. That there is more kindness than hate in the world but that we don't see that as much because the hate is always more shocking. We expect to see kindness. We don't expect to see hate. So when we do see hate we are shocked and it is magnified because of our shock. When there is a fight at school there is always a crowd - people flock to see the fight. Mostly out of shock. It is something you don't expect to see. But fights are rare and kindness isn't. You may help someone up on the playground after they fall. There isn't a crowd then. No one celebrates it with shouts and attention. There is much more kindness in the world than there is hate. We have to learn to magnify and celebrate the good in the world and we can (hopefully) overcome the hate. Each act of kindness is a ripple and with enough ripples, we can make waves. 

I hope that this was helpful to them. I hope that they use their voices to help make this world a better place. I am confident they will. The question is what is the world they inherit going to be like? I hope it is one filled with more good than evil, more kindness than hate, and more love than indifference. 

1 comment:

  1. It all breaks my heart! I can't think about what is happening in our country too hard, or I'll cry! Thanks for sharing your story! 💕