Each Monday, my students have an essay due in their green composition book. The prompt changes weekly, sometimes deeply personal, sometimes humorous, sometimes fantasy, and so on. Last week, the prompt asked the kids to choose three wishes granted them by a genie who suddenly appears before them.
E is a very bright, very sweet third grader. He loves to write ... most of my students do ... and took to the above prompt with gusto. I read his response late the afternoon of a particularly difficult and stressful 12.5 hour day. E's essay was so well written, and brought an immediate smile to my face, reminding me, once again, why I do what I do. He began by letting me know that he'd take his time to choose three wishes carefully. While his first wish was world peace, and his third to be rich, his second was to have a "large snowman made out of chocolate donuts."
I read E's essay, eager to discover the thought behind the snowman. He wrote, "The reason I would wish for a large snowman made out of chocolate donuts is because my favorite dessert is a chocolate donut. The snowman would keep the chocolate donuts from melting, and keep them nice and cool. Knowing that every time I want a chocolate donut I have it within reach. It's like every time someone would start building a snowman it would be turning into chocolate donuts. My wish is one of a kind because no one else would think to wish for a snowman made out of chocolate donuts." Yes, this is a one of a kind wish, E! You rock! I want a donut and a cold glass of milk!
My smile, however, turned misty as I read E's final paragraph. The prompt asked the kids to describe how one wish most affected their life. Here's E's: "The wish that affects my life would have to be world peace. Everywhere I turn in the street I see candles and flowers because someone got killed. In the news, everything that happens around the world, no one feels safe anymore. It affects me because I live in the world and want this to change so we can all feel safe to walk at night and not live with fear. I am the future so it starts with me to be a good role model and not to do bad things."
I wrote back to eight-year-old E, telling him I'd like to share his essay with the class. I'm also going to try to send him to Washington D.C., the middle east, and anywhere else in the world needing a role model for peace. Not only will he awe these leaders with his compassion and understanding that change begins within, he'll serve delicious treats, and they'll be ice-cold.