This morning in advisory we shared stories under the categories: “When I was an idiot,” or “When I was gullible, ” and of course the shared stories morphed into stories about our siblings and our parents as well. With each student’s offering, the energy built and more stories were remembered as we connected to the humor and conflict and narrative of the voices around the table. It was all I could do to stay quiet myself and add stories to the mix. (In actuality I did share two, but I had hundreds. I have listed them in my blog folder for future postings.) At the core of each of the students’ stories was a vital almost vibrating energy. At the center was a real exuberance and more than a kernel of truth. Their stories were alive, wild even. Each student was clearly trying to top the other with their tales of misadventures, crazy risks, huge mistakes, and poor choices.
Then what happens when they put pen to paper, or rather these days, finger to keyboard? Where does that life go? Why does it disappear for some, diminish, or weaken? I know that eye contact and immediate feedback have a lot to do with the fuel and energy of a story. I know that being held in community is powerful and seductive, especially for 13 year olds. But there are written stories, too, that mesmerize with this same compelling animated magic, some of them even written by 13 year olds.
The period ended before we had a chance to talk about this. Actually I was late letting them out. Everyone had one more story to share. And as they left the room, they were still responding to each other’s stories, laughing, letting the spirited conversation about human foibles, frailties, and vulnerabilities splash into the hallway.