One of the lovely things about Christmas break is the gift of time. Time for family. Time for friends. And even time for you. Time for me equals time to read.
I read a lot during this break, but I’ll focus on a couple of favorites. I reread Ruth’s Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers. I reflected back to the summer when I heard Ruth speak at All Write. Although we were in an auditorium, it was an intimate, personal experience. Ruth opened her heart and shared her story. You feel that same closeness and honesty when you read her book.
Ruth writes “For many kids, teachers are the last hope for healing.” She offers encouragement for teachers to be “faithful and fearless” and challenges us to “Press on, brave teacher.” She cites research and tells her own experiences as a mother and teacher to show the need and the possibility of meeting the need. She gives us practical ideas for the classroom. She helps us believe we can reach the hard-to-reach. We can do what draws so many of us into teaching- make a difference.
Another book I read this week was Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter. This novel is the story of a sister and brother who are adopted from foster care. It is a perfect fiction companion to Ruth’s book. It illuminates the inner thoughts of children who come from hard. We see the same kind of healing steps from adoptive parents, a caring teacher, and other caring adults. Their past so traumatized the siblings thought of themselves as “Onlys,” the only ones who were not born. Throughout the book, they reveal the many theories they came up with to explain how they got here. In the end, they go on a search for their true beginning with their adoptive mother. And the sister says, “We come from the places where things get stuck and hidden and lost…but people love us anyway.”
What a thought. As teachers (parents, family members, friends…) our love can reach the hard-to-reach. We can help them know they can revise their hard stories.