So, even our ancestors didn’t have an easy time keeping the planet from harm. But did they imagine, as they were struggling for survival, that our skies would blacken with pollutants and poisons, our oceans would fill with plastic islands, miles wide and deep, or the land would be filled with garbage for hundreds of years? Who knows?
Here are some questions to think about:
Who’s responsible for our futures?
Is progress always right, or always wrong?
Does technology change cultures, or cultures change technology?
We don’t always do what’s best for us. In fact, quite often, it takes effort, skill, knowledge, and perseverance to survive. And, to top it all off, we actually want to not only survive, but to find our true loves, our soul mates, our one and only’s. Now that I’m a bit older, and perhaps wiser, I look at my former self and think, ‘what was I thinking?!’ and scratch my head in bewilderment at some of the choices of friends I made. They weren’t always good for me. Fun? Yes. Helped me to survive? Hardly.
It’s close to the beginning of a new school year. Eighth grade can stand out as one of your best, or one of your worst, years. I promise to do everything I can to make it one of your best, but you have to meet me at least a little bit of the way.
First –trust. Don’t stand in your own way. Recognize that the adults in your world are not out to “get you,” trick you, etc. At least not this adult (me), and I can speak with some authority about your other teachers, too. We are glad to be at school, and we’re even happier when you’re there, too.
Second–friends. There are “fun” friends that get you in trouble. There are the goodie-two-shoes friends that don’t. And the ones that really respect you and like you will be somewhere in the middle – enough fun to keep things creative, but they don’t hurt anyone, especially you.
Third–explore. Use this year to try everything in your classes you can – read books you haven’t thought of before, learn what true scientific method is, and why math may save your life.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. This little frog survived. And so will you.
One thing we can all agree on is that we don’t all have to agree – right? Your tastes in music may be very different from mine. But, don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions and assume I only like one type of music. I like a lot of genres of music – everything from The Beatles to Black Eyed Peas, from Mozart to Moby, and everything in between. I put my i-pod on random shuffle and listen to the surprising results. (When did I download that? Oh, this is one of my favorites. This is new! Cool!)
Some music I grew up with when I was a teenager, back when I rode a dinosaur to school and only had three channels, included U-2 and Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin’s heyday began long before I was in high school, but once I heard them, I thought, yeah…this is awesome! In college, when I had a broken heart, I listened to Since I’ve Been Loving You about 1,299 times.
During my senior year a friend of mine, Chris, told me about U-2, telling me it was, and would remain, one of the greatest bands. Ever. Period. I wish I knew where he was today so I could tell him his prediction turned out more than true.
The White Stripes is an acquired taste, but I do like their raw, simplistic sound.
There is a documentary called It Might Get Loud coming out on August 27 that highlights the three main musical talents, geniuses, gurus, whatever title one may wish: Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Jack White, and The Edge of U-2. Yes. The Edge. That’s his name.
So, I’ll be there, front row seat, hoping to get a glimpse inside the hearts and minds of three very talented musicians.
You know, my Washingtonian darlings, you won’t start school until Monday, August 31. And you will complain, although I have it on good authority you’re actually excited to be back. It’s okay. You don’t have to tell me.
Anyway, one of my favorite cousin’s sons has already started ninth grade English. I’m not sure if he’s in honors or not, but my cousin asked me if I could help him with an assignment. Apparently, his class is reading Alas, Babylon and Lord of the Flies. I have never read Alas, alas, but I am fascinated and fond of Lord of the Flies.
He asked me to help him develop questions based on stylistic elements of literature. Um, yeah. That was kind of like asking me to pull apart the richness of a thick, gooey, chocolate cake with chocolate chips, chocolate frosting, and a side of chocolate–LOTF is so rich with symbolism, motifs, allusions, allegory, foreshadowing and all-around awesomeness of writing, it’s almost impossible to pull it all apart–but not totally. This is the challenge of discussing amazing literature–novels, short stories, poetry–all deep and interesting texts that connect us as humans. Lord shows us that we, in our deepest hearts, can be cruel, savage, and bloodthirsty bullies. It also shows us that evil may take many forms, but it can be fought: when it’s left unchecked, our society and connections fall apart.
Oops. This wasn’t about me writing a thesis paper on Lord of the Flies. It was about finding and understanding literary terms, so you can apprecitate, understand, and desire reading: