Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Walking through the Wonders

The entire book Wonder makes you think about how you treat people. Learning about Auggie's deformity, You find yourself asking if you treat people that way. I think it would be hard to not do a double take. We can't always hide our surprise.
At Auggie's age, he is just learning so many things about the world. Especially after being home-schooled all his life. He has to learn to be around other children. After being thrown into an environment like that, not at all by choice, I am not sure how I would have handled it. But Auggie does. He is such a strong boy.
Auggie grows up a great deal throughout Wonder. He sleeps away from his house for the first time, he makes friends, he cuts off his Padawan braid... That is so much to happen in one year, especially with him being around fifth grade age.
I like that the book takes us in a shifting viewpoint. We get to see things how August does, but we also get to see him through the eyes of others and it makes for a wonderful story. If I had to rate the book, I would give wonder a 10 out of 10. I love it. I would like to thank Dr. Gulley for sharing this book with us, without her, I may have never read it. I will definitely spend more time appreciating God's little wonders.

Precepts and concepts behind them.

       This post I would like to dedicate to Precepts. By definition, a precept is a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought. This book introduced this concept to me. I mean, I have always had those in my life, phrases that I try to live by, but I never had a name for the term. Precepts. I like the sound of it. One precept that I have always tried to follow is "Treat others the way you want to be treated." I knew from experience that being bullied was not fun so I always tried to treat people nicely, no matter what. If we got a new kid in school, I always tried to go talk to them and make friends with them. Being the new kid is hard. Auggie knows. Here is a list of precepts that I try to follow:

  1. Treat others the way you want to be treated. 
  2. And in time this too shall pass. My mom used to tell me this all the time when I would come home crying from school. I actually plan on this phrase being my next tattoo.
  3. Don't judge a book by it's cover. Or in Auggie's case, a boy by his face. Some of the best books are the one lacking in cover art.
  4. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I'm not sure where this originated, but it is now a line of a famous Kelly Clarkson song. It came to me in a time of life where I really needed to hear that. 
  5. What goes around, comes around. This one has let me hold on to hope that no deed goes unpunished. I would like to think that karma is there and will take care of those who need it. 

These are my precepts. I love that in the book they are introduced to this concept in the fifth grade. I would love to incorporate this into my teaching in the future. Sometimes being introduced to a good precept can change your life.
"When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind." -Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
       I would like to create my own personal precept. "Always be kind. You never know what someone is going through at home, work, or school, and your kind words could save their life." I know this is true for me. I would also like to share a link here This link is a blog by Jaime Tworkowski, the founder of TWLOHA. I am an active member of USI's Uchapter of TWLOHA. I read this blog on a day that I was feeling very depressed. It has helped me a lot. Maybe it could help you too. We are all stories still going. Now Auggie gets to add characters to his.

Comparing myself to them...

        I would like to say that I think I could be as strong as Auggie, but the truth is, I don't think I could. Simply being bullied about my weight sent me in to a suicidal spiral in my youth. I could barely stand to look at myself in the mirror because I felt like my body was disgusting. Sometimes, I still do. But I have moved past a time of caring about the harsh words of bullies. No matter how old you are, words hurt. There is a phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." I am not sure where this came from, but whoever created it was very wrong.
        It is hurtful words that lead to children taking their lives at a young age. I was almost a statistic myself.I found this image and thought it would be good to share.
 I'm not sure this is the easiest concept to achieve though. I know that August's biggest bully in school is Julian. I had a bully like him myself. Two actually.  Now that we are adults, I am not even sure if they remember the way they treated me back then, but I do. It takes one event to make an impression and there were so many bad things happening with them that I will never forget. The rumors, the looks, tearing my clothing, hitting me, mocking me... These memories haunt me still. But I have moved on. I would like to share another image, this one to allow some comedic relief... Keep Calm and Carry On!
 If there is anything you should learn by reading Wonder, it is to be kind. Sometimes a kind word or action can make a huge difference in someone's life. You may not think something major of it, but one friend is all it really takes to make someone feel better about their life. Going along with the "trending phrases," Keep Calm and don't be a Julian. 
Getting back to the theme of this blog, I would like to think about the characters more. I think the character I most closely relate to is Via, for several reasons. I am fiercely protective of my younger brother. He is also a husky child and he used to be picked on for it in school. I make sure that I look out for him. I also don't like to be put in the spotlight. I had two really close friends in high school who I grew away from in a way similar to her situation. All that being said, I think the main reason I feel like I relate to Via is that she has always felt like her brother is the spotlight of her parents' attention. I was a sick child from a young age until the doctors discovered. And until my brother came along, I was the only child. I was spoiled. Once my parents had my brother though (I was 6) I was kind of pushed away. The new baby got all the attention. While my brother didn't have problems like August did, he was still mom's favorite. He got so many things that I never did. When he came along, mom stopped babying me and gave all her attention to him. I'm not sad about it anymore, but I think that is one of the reasons I felt like I could completely understand Via's character. 
There are so many wonderful people in Auggie's life. We all just have to bypass the bad things to see how much good there really is in our lives. I can relate people in my life to almost every character in this book. I love the artwork of the characters. The concept of giving each of them one eye was really neat. There are many lessons to be learned from this book if we only take the time to read it. There will always be people in the world like Julian and his parents, but we could all strive to be a little more like August or Summer. 

Oh the Feels!

        Excuse my use of a new "trending" phrase, but after reading the entirety of  Wonder by R.J. .Palacio, this is my first response. Throughout the novel, we are introduced to August Pullman. I laughed with him, cried with him, and was scared with him. I shared in his hopes, dreams, wishes, sadness and fears. Books like this one are the reason I really love to read today. Sometimes it is really nice to just escape reality and live in someone else's world.
           One thing I will say though, is that August Pullman's world is full of hardships. That poor child was born with such sever facial deformity that I can honestly say that I don't think I have ever seen anything like it. It hurts my heart to hear about children being bullied though. I was a victim of bullying myself. My deformity was nothing like Auggie's though. I was an overweight child. From first grade on I was bullied for my weight. People would tell me that I should just kill myself for being so fat. I think that the Halloween chapter in the story is what hit me with emotional impact the hardest.
          When Jack said he would kill himself if he looked like August, I had to put the book down and have a good cry. It took me almost thirty minutes to gain control of myself again. I was bullied like he was. It may not have been for the same reason, but it broke my heart to know that he was sharing struggles that I endured. And his is because of the way he was born! At least my situation was changeable. My mom could have put me on a diet and helped me get to a normal weight (which has never happened,) but August had no choice in the way he looked.
          Watching this video even brought tears to my eyes after reading the book. R.J. Palacio does a wonderful job of portraying situations that are hard to acknowledge. Even though I have been through it myself, it is a wonder what children have to face in school.