Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Interesting Developments

Let's try something fun tonight, you and me. I'll write a montage, and I need you to play a song in your head as you picture the imagery. It doesn't have to be any specific music -- just something with a steady rhythm and possibly relying mostly on guitar and male vocals. Got something? Go on and queue it up in your music player of choice. I'll wait.

Ready? Cool. Let's begin.

Slowly we pan, left to right, across the hallway of an elementary school. Snowflake cutouts hang on the bulletin boards, each accompanied with children's first attempts at complete sentences on faded green paper with dotted lines to encourage good penmanship. Each flake is slightly different -- some rough, some crinkled, all beautiful. The handiwork of little hands, meticulously cutting edges as their individual tongues stick out over their lips in a sign of intense concentration.

Continue up the hall, passing doorways the lead to children sitting on colorful rugs, listening to their teachers as they play with their shoelaces. Eventually we rest our sights on a desk sitting in the middle of the hall, occupied by two individuals-- one learning to read, the other learning to help.

The music plays on -- we can't hear what the duo is saying, but they appear to be reading a book. The older individual is making large gestures, attempting to give meaning to the words. The younger looks on, waiting patiently to return to the book. He is concerned with progress -- when the last page is turned, the lesson ends.

The older places his finger on the page, slowly gliding across the sentences as the younger reads slowly, steadily combining sounds until words are formed, combining words into sentences, and relaying written paragraphs into thoughts until the moment of comprehension is reached.

The topic of the book is not important. It is simply one person helping another as he was helped -- passing on a love for reading that carried him beyond school, beyond home, beyond himself. Just as a snowflake is unlocked from a folded piece of paper, entire worlds are unlocked from shapes that become letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, books, memories.

The older one leaves, waving goodbye to the young reader. Who has learned more today? A young boy mastering the complexities of syllables, or the young man who helped?

We truck backwards down the empty hallway, fading to black.


Anonymous Mom said...

That was soooo great, Jake! What a wonderful way to start my day! Love ya' lots.

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, Jake! How much do I miss you?!!! Laurie T. sent me your blog info and I have wasted my entire evening reading it. Did I say wasted? That's not true. I've enjoyed every second finding out how you've been. Keep it up. I hope all is well with you! I miss your humor SO much!


8:41 PM  

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