21 August 2013

Back To School

Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.
- G.K. Chesterton

I sit down with a cup of dandelion tea and many thoughts shuffling around in my head as my free box of crayons from Target sit on my table, tempting me to color. It gets me thinking about all the schools back in session this week and thinking back to when I was in Elementary, Middle, and High School. I was always excited to go back because I liked to learn. I liked the freshness of a new notebook, and how all my new pens wrote the best when they were just opened. I anticipated getting to know the teacher and what kinds of things he/she would be passionate about.
I wonder how kids feel today? Do they get excited about learning? I imagine a lot do, just like I did (and still do!).

But did I appreciate it when I was in school? Not nearly as much as I would now. For instance, I read books now that were required reading in school, that I dreaded, or that stumped me. It's funny, I used to get frustrated in my AP English classes when the teacher made us read into the poems and stories to figure out what was really being said. A lot of times I would not catch on right away, so I scoffed. What a silly, ignorant girl I was! I did not fully grasp the joy in words and the meaning they symbolize. The word is not the truth, per say, but the word is the gateway to knowing. To learning. A symbol of sorts.

I have always loved words, reading, and writing, but those teachers were asking me to do something I never had to do before. I was being challenged in the best of ways. Taken out of my comfort zone. And that's how you learn.

I did learn over the years and I still remember certain books and what I drew out of them from those classes. I remember feeling in awe and holding admiration of the writers who had the talent of piecing together complex stories. Even if I did not like them, I learned how to appreciate them. I remember being surprised to enjoy reading The Illiad and The Odyssey and even more surprised to realized I enjoyed reading The Catcher in the Rye. I was shocked to love poetry so much, especially Shakespeare, Keats, Shelley, and Edgar Alan Poe. The book I disliked, more than any, was The Metamorphosis by Kafka. The book was so disturbing to me for some reason, perhaps because of the general attitude of the characters and the lack of regard by the family of the main character, and the whole turning-into-an-insect thing, which was just so absurd to me. That was one book I never desired to read again.

Sometimes I feel like a young school kid again as I dive into a new book that is an unknown world to me. Happy school days! Don't forget to appreciate all that you learn.

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