Monday, March 14, 2011


I am sitting with M, a fourth grader at our school. M is an interesting kid. He lives a stone's throw away from the school, but only comes about half the time. He rarely does much in the way of work, in fact, it's not at all unusual to find him wandering the halls, or making frequent trips to the restroom when everyone else is working. M is, however, a voracious reader, and will often sit, completely absorbed in a book, most recently Walter Dean Myers' MONSTER, for an entire day.

Today M wants to tell me about a dream he had over the weekend. "The whole world had been taken up," he says, "by that what do you call it? That big wave. And only our playground was left. But it was really, really big, like the size of Denver. And we were all playing. But there were no teachers. Well there was one teacher. But it was a kangaroo. And we were playing soccer. And the kangaroo could kick really hard and it hit me in the chest, and it hurt."

I'm not sure where this story is going or what the dream might represent, but then we return to the earthquake. What caused it, M wants to know. Could we have one in Colorado? And what about the wave? We couldn't have one of those, right, because we don't live next to water.

And what about the volcanoes? M has heard that there are volcanoes ready to erupt all over Japan. Do we have those in Colorado? I tell him I don't think we have any active ones, but we get online to google it, just to make sure. We discover that there are several, but that the last one erupted thousands of years ago.

The conversation continues for about 20 minutes, question after question after question. It's clear that M has been waiting for a captive adult, who can help him process some of the events that have gone on in the world recently.

M makes me think, again, about what we are doing to kids. It's the time of year when we pretty much spend entire days and weeks filling kids' heads with practice for the big event. In talking to M, however, it's clear that he has much bigger fish to fry…

1 comment:

Linda B said...

You told this story with such compassion. I liked the detail of all that this young boy is, & that he felt safe enough to ask you those questions. Too bad about the testing time taken from what is really on their minds.