Wednesday, March 10, 2010

YES, Sixth Graders Can Make a Difference!

Wow--what an amazing two days. Mr. Fab started by handing us this powerful reminder about childhood before we even began our work.
"When we adults think of children there is a simple truth which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life, childhood is life...

The child is constantly confronted with the nagging question, 'What are you going to be?' Courageous would be the youngster who, looking the adult squarely in the face, would say, 'I'm not going to be anything; I already am.'

We adults would be shocked by such an insolent remark for we have forgotten, if indeed we ever knew, that a child is an active participating and contributing member of society from the time he is born.

Childhood isn't a time when he is molded into a human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life.

No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied him by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation.

How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice.

How much we would teach each other, adults with the experience and children with the freshness.

How full both our lives could be.

A little child may not lead us, but at least we ought to discuss the trip with him for, after all, life is his and her journey, too."

- Professor T. Ripaldi

We learned everything from how to be a movie director, write a script, sell a pitch, work as a team, call others to action....and change our school, our community, and our world for the better.

The power of the last two days hit me at about 2:30 yesterday. Mr. Fab and I sat with a group of boys to hear the progress they had made on creating a movie "pitch". These sixth graders so eloquently explained that their movie pitch was to "stop bullying in middle school". The boys started telling Joe about a student in our grade that had been bullied this year and would be a great person to interview to bring "a personal story" to the pitch. The bullied child (I'm calling him J.) happily joined the movie group's conversation and explained his feeling as a kid who'd been bullied for years--that it "gives me a sick feeling in my stomach" and that " I'm bullied almost every day of my life". I could kick myself for not having the video camera running during this entire conversation. All the boys spoke from their hearts--and our movie group boys vowed to protect and stand up for J. (and start a "middle school club to protect, stand up for, and be friends to kids who are bullied") They finished the conversation, shook hands, and went back to work. Mr. Fab and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes.

Childhood isn't a time when he is molded into a human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life. These children are living, contributing members of society who have the power to change lives for the better. Yes, they can. Yes, the are.
Mr. Fab continued to remind the children that the Paper Clips documentary happened because one child asked "How much is six million"? He reminded them that they have the power, the intelligence, the creativity, the curiosity to ask questions and pursue the answers that can change our world for the better.

I'm off to school to be a partner with these children in the process of living.


  1. How could you not have a tear in your eye? That anecdotal you shared gave me goosebumps. How brave J was to share what it's like to be him!

    You, my friend, are making a huge difference in the lives of these children with this project.

    Mr. Fab sounds like an incredibly smart man as well.

  2. A partner in the process of living. Wow.