Yesterday my colleagues and I had the pleasure of a good old-fashioned read-aloud (no post-its to track our thinking, or an explicit strategy think aloud). We gathered in the library for our PLC Wednesday and our principal began the afternoon by reading to us. She chose the book "It’s a Book" by award winning author/illustrator Lane Smith. "It’s a Book" explores how our concept about books is experiencing some challenges as we now are living in a digital age.
"How do you scroll down? You can't it's a book."
"Can it text, Wi-Fi, blog? No, it's a book."
Each line reinforced the fundamental concept of a book. Each time I heard "No, it’s a book" I was struck with the text to self, and text to world connection I was constructing around the idea for a book titled "No, It’s a Child."
Perhaps my connection was unusual, but not if you consider the news headlines from the previous day. As I drove into work I listened to the breaking news of Georgia teen, Bobby Tillman, who had been beaten to death at a house party for no apparent reason other than he was the next kid who walked by a group of four individuals. Then as a drove home I listened to the testimony of Elizabeth Smart recount her "nine months of hell" after she was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night when she was fourteen years old. Arriving home, my mind already spinning with disgust, the news was reporting 884 arrests in a child prostitution ring that spanned forty U.S. cities.
My connection seems much more comprehensible. There seems to be a breakdown in our moral fabric. We seem to have a warped idea of what it means to be a child. We seem to need a reminder.
"Can you degrade, beat, neglect, steal, sell, profit from, rape, molest, starve, intoxicate, drug, and harm it?"
"No, it's a child."
In fact, let’s be clear when we speak about a child, we are speaking about the very children in our classrooms. When I hear these stories about society failing children, I often wonder about the adults that came in to contact with the victims or abusers and turned the other way.
Has there ever been a time when you have exercised your moral courage for the well being of a child?