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The 'Wonder' Years

November 30, 2017
By Betsy Bethel - Editor ( , OVParent

"When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind." - Dr. Wayne Dyer

The above is Mr. Browne's September Precept from the book "Wonder" by R.J. Palacio. While the movie hasn't come out yet as of this writing, I'm sure by now you've seen it or at least seen trailers. It's about a boy with severe facial deformations and his experiences attending school for the first time. Mr. Browne is his English teacher, and his monthly precepts are thought-provoking snippets of wisdom for his students to consider. Another of my favorites is: "No man is an island, entire of itself."- John Donne.

The book has been the summer reading requirement for fifth-graders at Wheeling Country Day School for several years, so my daughter (and I) read it two summers ago. The Dyer quote was posted on her classroom wall all year last year. Kindness was their class credo. It was the backdrop for everything from math problems, writing lessons and LEGO robotics to musical performances and parties.

So how did that work out? If it's any indication, during their graduation speeches, almost every one of the 16 kids mentioned they felt accepted by their peers and teachers just as they are.

Of course, everyone has their mean moments. But when adults expect kindness (nix the "kids can be mean" excuse), children can and will deliver.

If you haven't read "Wonder," I highly recommend it. And go see the movie. I can't wait!



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