How do we send off our children, our students, into the gaping-ready-to-swallow-them-whole, world? When they have been cocooned within classroom 147, where their opinions were validated, where they were hugged, given second chances, asked to write just one more paper? How do we send them off to reality or college which will often ignore their opinions, where they won't be hugged, will have only one chance, and that last paper will come with a demand?
The day before they walk into the graduation ballroom following the bagpiper is not the time to administer a final they could flunk. So, one of their two finals, is a tutorial from Don Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. We challenge them to Live a Better STory. Or Mrs. F challenges them and I get to be a student again--a student of life improvement.
In the front of the room, Mrs. F has set up a table with the tools we need to begin our book.
We will write a story about making life a better story.
Part 1: The Story
Mrs. F asks the introspective questions: What do you want? What keeps you from getting it?
Then she reads, asks more introspective questions and highlights suggestion diamonds like: Invite your family into a better story, and reads quotes from the author, "Enjoy your place in my story," says God.
May we become unwilling victims and become grateful participants.
If a good story is about character change, then the point of life is transformation.
Humans are alive for the point of a journey.
What is the point of the search? Does the search create the transformation?
Part II A Character
Creating character is about transformation. A story should transform a character.
It is impossible to not change--the actual physical body transforms-cell wise/regeneration--every six months.
We are designed to live through something rather than to attain and collect.
The thing we were meant to live through was designed to change us. The point of story.
When you're a better character, you live a better story.
A character is what she does--not what she thinks and feels.
Imagination enhances life--life enhances imagination.
If you want to be a good character--pay attention to the details. Create the details.
After more reading and emphasis on certain quotes, Mrs. F asks more questions which the students must answer: What do you do on a daily basis?
What do you spend your money on? What you spend your money on is what directs your life.
Students take time to answer the questions. Then more quotes. Hands raise. I watch and listen from the corner of the classroom while students sort this all out in their own minds and with each other--on the last day of sitting in the little desk where they've sat for what seemed like it would be forever--at the beginning of the year.
Part III The Journey
A great life requires us to face our greatest fears with courage.
We're unwilling to embrace the hard things we are living among now.
God is the master storyteller: he understands conflict and growth.
What creates a better story: risk and sacrifice.
A good story is someone who overcomes an obstacle.
And then the ultimate questions: What differentiates a good story from a great story?
Music obeys form and structure. Obeying the form and structure of life is inherent to a good life too.
Like good writing, you can edit your life.
The story is about relationships.
The ambitions we have will become the stories we live.
A story is based on what we think is important.
The trying is more important that succeeding.
Telling a better story sounds great--but we resist when we realize it takes work.
Joy costs pain.
What are your inciting incidents?
Human design is for comfort and stability, but instead, we need inciting incidences --an inciting incident may solely be "getting off the couch."
Fear is a manipulative emotion that can make our life boring. Fear is not only a guide to keep us safe.
Part IV The Crossing
Great stories go to the characters who won't give into fear.
Ambition creates fear but it also creates the story.
Great stories are not ambiguous.
Are our stories being stolen by the ease of life?
There is no conflict man cannot endure.
A really great story invites people into the story.
Go to the extra effort to make a scene memorable.
Trying hard is better than trying easy.
What is the difficult think I want to obtain?
Stories empty like a stomach and need to be filled again. Our need for stories is constant.
Mrs. F reads a story from the book, about a man who lives in a town that doesn't celebrate New Year's Eve. He starts a parade, but as people come to observe, he insists they become part of the spectacle--there are no bystanders allowed. Everyone must participate in the parade.
Your life is a blank page--just start writing!!
Be a part of the parade.