My wife handed me my 9-year old’s report card. Looks fine. Better in math than English. Good. Then I saw this large black and white photo of my son with a clear plastic film stapled on top of it (overlay) with text printed on it. It read:
- [my son’s name]
- Resident of [our street address]
- I am awesome, funny, and a good friend
- I love soccer, traveling, and reading
- I cry when someone dies
- I worry that math will be hard this year
- I try to get better at soccer
- I wonder if I’ll get more friends
- I hope that I’ll learn in school
I had to read it over a few times. The purity, the innocence of a 9-year old’s life shines through. But it shines through so strong it’s almost painful to look at. Painful in the sense that, “What would I write?” I can’t wait to ask his teacher where she found this. Maybe it’s a common thing to do for third graders? Maybe the whole country does it? Maybe no one. Maybe my son’s teacher is a philosopher and a genius.
What would you write? Will it define you?[quote float=”right”]What if everyone did this every year?[/quote]After having read it a few more times I thought more and more about his life. It pretty much comes down to friends, soccer, and math. If my life came down to three simple topics, I’d be thrilled. I think I’m scared to tackle this. I think I either need a drink or an hour of meditation or a walk through a park (like Yellowstone … ). Maybe this is something people need to do once a month or at least once a year. See how it evolves. Maybe there should be instructions, rules, or at least some guidelines. Or maybe not. Maybe just sentence length. Maybe just not more than a line each. I wonder if the third graders had rules. I bet the third graders, combined, the whole class, thought less about it than I have since just last night. I’m over-thinking this. I’m avoiding doing it. I’m hesitant. I’m not sure what will happen. You know those machines at the carnival with the spooky looking wizard and you pay a quarter and he says something, well, wizardly? That’s what this is going to be. I’m at the top of the cliff and I have to jump into the water. The more I wait, the worse it gets. I just need to jump. OK, 1, 2, 3, go.
- Bradley Charbonneau
- Resident of San Francisco
- I am a dad, a husband, a writer, a traveler
- I love my family
- I cry when they’re hurt
- I worry that I won’t see them grow up
- I try to be the best me
- I wonder what I’ll write in a year
- I hope to make people’s lives better around me
OK, I have new rules: no editing! No going out of order! I tried not to stop, just let it flow, see what happened. Holy quickie soul searching, Batman! That kinda hurt, but in the way a final sprint around the track does: painful as you’re doing it but you feel better afterwards.
Dare you share yours?
I challenge you to write down yours. I double challenge you to write them out in the comments below.