Thursday, December 18, 2014

You Have Not Because You Ask Not

We were discussing the theme of a short memoir in reading class today. The basic plot line is that a dad takes his six children into a department store where they happen to be selling baby chicks. One of the kids utters the words we have all spoken, most of us more than once. "Can we get one, Dad?"

This dad says, "Sure."

The oldest brothers in the story look at each other in disbelief. "We can?!" one asks.

And then, when the half-dozen of them are bickering for picking rights, their dad tells them that they can each have one.

At this point, I always pause, and look out at the class. They are generally wide-eyed, because, they, like the kids in the memoir,


Later in the story, their mother is also incredulous that her husband would think such a thing was a good idea, and one of the chicks dies and the oldest brother offers to share his with his grieving little brother, but through it all, when asked what they take away from this tale, the students always come up with some version of It never hurts to ask. Like today, they offered my favorite yet: Expect the impossible! And they mean it in the best possible way.

And it is the charm of such childish optimism, especially at this time of year, that is one of the reasons I'm going back tomorrow. (But after that? I'm going to take a couple weeks off.)

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