MAXIMize the Moment Junior Volume 2, Issue 27
School just isn't my top priority today. I'd like to be able to put my thoughts and energy into class, but we're at war and, by comparison, everything else seems pretty unimportant. How can I focus on math with everything that's going on in the world? Sometimes I wish that I could just go away somewhere-take my friends and family and fly off to some safe place where I wouldn't have to worry and be afraid.
Mr. Clark catches me daydreaming and asks, "Julia, what are your thoughts on this poem?"
I quickly glance through it. I don't understand it all, but the first line really strikes me: "Hope is the thing with feathers."
A minute ago, I was wishing to be somewhere else and live in a better world. I can't just pretend that my worries don't exist, but I shouldn't let myself get overwhelmed by fear and worry; that won't do any good.
I have to hold on to hope. Hope allows me to fight my fears and look beyond my worries. Hope helps me to imagine a world with the lasting peace that we all want. Hope will help me rise above the concerns of today and look to the good of tomorrow. When the cares of the world and these scary times weigh me down, I must hold on to hope because "Hope is the thing with feathers."
- "Hope is the thing with feathers…"
- Hope - I believe in the goodness of the future.
- Optimism - I look for the positive and try to find the good in all situations.
- Faith - I believe and trust in goodness.
- Courage - Even in times of doubt, I do not let my fears overwhelm me.
- Strength - Even when it is challenging, scary, or painful, I continue to try.
- Perseverance - I am not overcome by challenges; I am able to stay "on course" even when things are very difficult.
Homeroom Discussion Information
- Do you sometimes feel the way Juliet does at the beginning of the story?
- When you're faced with a hard time, do you find it hard to focus on everyday things?
- Is it easier to deal with worries when they're about personal (like arguments with friends) challenges or global issues (like the war)?
- What are some ways to find hope, even when you have lots of concerns on your mind? What comforts you during uncertain and/or painful times? What or who has been a support for you during this difficult time?
- Juliet finally realizes that she needs to be aware of her fear, but not overwhelmed by it. Why is it important to focus on "normal" things during times that are not normal?
- Can focusing on the everyday details of life help you cope with very challenging times? How?
- Is it a good idea to totally ignore your concerns or fears? Why not? How can you find a balance between being aware of your feelings of concern and not being overcome by them?
- How can you help others deal with their worry and fear?
- Why is it important to be a hopeful person?
- What helps you have hope during this challenging time?
Five tips for maxim-izing your family time
- Think of family traditions and normal activities and stick with them. Make a concerted effort to help your child feel safe and secure during this particularly difficult time.
- Try to be calm and courageous, yet honest as well. Your strength and your ability to have hope in the future will set the example for your child.
- Discuss the situation at a time that is comfortable for both you and your child. Do not be afraid to bring up the topic with your children, but also be aware of your child's need for space. Let him/her be the barometer for your discussion.
- Be proactive. Make a family plan to deal with a crisis situation. Ensure your children that you are doing things to keep them safe-and tell them about those things. Discuss and practice your crisis plan. Explain that having a plan doesn't mean that something bad is going to happen, but that you can feel prepared and won't be as afraid if something does.
- Model compassion. Be patient with yourself and with your family members. Try to acknowledge and respect the different ways that people are coping. Make sure to still do fun things and to nurture your spirit and help find calm.
- What did you think of the maxim that was read at school today? How have kids at your school been dealing with the war and concerns about safety?
- What do you think we, as a family, have done that has been helpful for you during this challenging time?
- What else would you like us to be doing for you?
- Do you feel like life is still "normal?" What are some things that have stayed the same, despite the war and concerns about terrorism? What things have changed?
- What would you like to recapture of the days before the war and concerns about terrorism? How can we help to address that need for you?
- Why is it so important to have hope during difficult times?
- How can it be just as important to have hope in the everyday events of life? How could hope help each of us in our daily lives at home? At work/school? In our interactions with others? In our self-reflection?
- If you could change one thing about the world today, what would it be? Why?
Be sure to acknowledge the courage your children show in talking with you about these issues.
- Talking with Kids About War: Pointers for Parents
- Talking About Terrorism and War
- Talking with Kids About the News
- PBS Parents; Talking with Kids About War and Violence
- Talking to Kids about War and Terrorism
- National Association of School Psychologists: Children and Fear of War and Terrorism
- Explore Poetry with Emily Dickinson
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