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Dear Diary

I learned a little about how Simon thinks at his school open house last night. The children all keep regular writing journals, math journals, and science and social studies journals. Which means they write a lot, and at open house the parents were invited to rifle through the children’s’ desks and peek into their journals.

In Simon’s math journal, I learned that “I love math because I get a lot of the questions rite [sic].” Hee. He does, and we all enjoy things we’re good at. I also learned the boy still can’t draw. Every story problem was illustrated with balls. Every one!

In his main journal, I learned that he loves the story of accidentally taking a sip of beer in Hilton Head last year (mostly because it makes his parents look bad, I suspect), that body surfing in the ocean made a lasting impression, and that he’s still bragging about a sliding goal-line save he made in a soccer game last winter. Then again, so are Matt and I. It really was a spectacular save.

Then I learned what Simon thinks of as mean. In his social studies notebook, he was supposed to write about a time that he wasn’t nice and/or did something that wasn’t right. Here was what Simon had to say:

“One time I was mean to my friend because she was a better dancer than I am.”

This had to be Caroline, but for the life of me I couldn’t picture him being actively mean to her. So I asked about it. This is what he had to say for himself:

“Yeah, one time when I was with Caroline she was dancing and I was angry that she was so much better than I am. I was thinking, ‘Hey, why is she so much better than I am at this?’ I guess I got a little jealous.”

“Did you say anything mean to her? Or do anything mean?”

“No, I just felt jealous.”

I was charmed by that answer, and pleased to have a natural opening to discuss jealousy and how it’s a feeling we all have sometimes. I was able to explain that he wasn’t being mean or bad to feel jealous, but that he’s right that it’s not a very nice way to feel. (According to happiness research, jealousy is the arch enemy of happiness and will eat you from the inside out if you let it go unchecked.)

Then we were able to discuss strategies for banishing jealousy. How if you tell yourself that you are happy and/or proud of someone’s accomplishments, and then tell the person directly, you often find that your heart comes around, the jealous feelings are gone, and you end up much happier for it. He agreed that this was a good idea, and knowing Simon, he will try this out the next time the green monster is an unwelcome guest in his head.

Having conversations like this makes me feel sorry that the clock is ticking on Simon’s willingness to confess deep thoughts in a semi-public journal.


One Response to “Dear Diary”

  1. blg says:

    Your last comment, about the days of his open-ness being numbered was my own first thought. But the conversations you have with him around his writing must be laying a good foundation.

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