Breaking News: Plane Lands Safely

In the last few weeks, I’ve had two friends going through a tough time with their kiddos and school. So tough, in fact, that both transferred to a different school. When my gal pal, Cindy, reached out to let me know of their decision, I shot a quick text to our friend Lisa letting her know we are here if she or her kiddos need us. Change is hard, but leaving one negative situation to face a new, overwhelming one can be a lot to take. I didn’t want them to feel like they were alone. After sending love, support, and humor in our texts, Lisa thanked me for reaching out to her. I told her to not spread the news of my goodness; I didn’t want people to think I had gone soft. She sent back, “Ha!! Good news doesn’t seem to travel as fast as bad news, so your secret’s probably safe for a little while. LOL”

It made me sad to think about the snail-mail pace of positive reports and a story that had come across the morning news reaffirming this depressing dispatch. Lisa’s situation and the CBS Morning News inspired me to put some Intentergy into broadcasting some cheerful correspondence.

Continue reading “Breaking News: Plane Lands Safely”

What Would Your Things Say About You? – The Narrative Assignment

Rocking Chair 001

My sister and I in our rocking chairs. Circa 1982

What would your things say about you?

The narrative assignment for my COM 101 class is not an easy essay. And I LOVE it! It is my favorite assignment to give and to grade.

In this assignment students are to compose a narrative of their life story as told by one object from their life. They are to personify one thing, and, from the perspective of that stuffed animal, tree, table, or whatever item they choose, the students are to share their defining moments from birth to present day.

This is a daunting task for students because some don’t have any one item that has been present for their entire life. Some claim that they haven’t done anything worth remembering. And still others whine that they can’t even remember what they had for breakfast, how are they supposed to remember what they did in grade school?

My response: It’s your story to tell. You better do the research. Your stuffed animal isn’t going to do it for you.

Rocking Chair

My childhood rocking chair today

To help them get started, I share a roughly drafted intro to my life, as told by my childhood rocking chair. I give them a glimpse into what my life was like in the beginning and how to narrate using an item that arrived after my birth. Many find the example helpful.  Some try to copy my words and plagiarize by changing the item and dates. Whatever their approach might be, they all have the same task: Tell their own story while bringing to life a special object.

Have you ever tried to tell your story?

At 19, 39, or 89 it is not an easy task. I have to say, the particular group of students I have now moved me with the tales they told. The stories of self-discovery, loss of loved ones, and the ways they conveyed hope for the future exposed me to raw talent, emotion, and understanding for who they are as individuals.  Continue reading “What Would Your Things Say About You? – The Narrative Assignment”