Slice of Life and Slivers of Light

Moments of beauty and promise are all around, but some days they can be harder to see. Sometimes they are slivers of light that come quickly and pass quietly. We have to pay attention.

A morning parent conference brought an immigrant’s story.
She came here at 17.
Learned to read English.
Worked two jobs.
Cared for her family.

Her daughter listened to the stories she has heard growing up. She looked on, proud.

“I tell my daughter, everywhere there are things to write about. You just have to be open to it.”

The bell rings and this momma gives her girl a kiss goodbye, and receives, a when-will-you-pick-me-up hug. I could hear and feel the love between these two.

Inspired by her mother, my student and I walk to the line, looking for stories to tell.

We enter the classroom, and the talk begins. Fifth graders are a busy lot. Blogging brings their buzz down; it’s a quieter way to be heard. And there is a sliver of light.

Later, getting ready for reading Some Kind of Courage the excitement builds. This adventure story has them captivated. But today I ask for thinking about big ideas. It almost seems unfair to ask such a thing when “what will happen next” is of prime importance. Who cares about themes if someone is going to die!

This chapter brought quiet and tears to a boy in the front row. This is the second time it’s happened and the second boy it’s happened to. No one said a thing.

I say, “When a story brings big emotion, we need to pay attention and ask why.”

I hear the slow beginnings of talk. Hesitant words.

“Family.”
“Family is important.”
“How you’ll do anything for family.”

I write their thoughts on the board. And with it, I see slivers of light.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Read more slices here.