A few Saturdays ago, a couple of my 3rd graders and I had a pre-reading discussion for The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, which is a tale about a very brave mouse, a lovely princess, a sad king, an unfortunate rat, and a homely girl who just wants to be loved.
To begin the discussion, I asked my 3rd graders (two boys whom I’ll affectionately refer to as B and C) what it means to BE BRAVE.
Me: What does being brave look like to you?
C: Maybe like playing some crazy sport like football or skiing down a high mountain.
B: Oh! Climbing Mt. Everest!
C: Ooh yea, or like asking your girlfriend to marry you?
B: Oh yea! Like going on a date with the girl you like.
C: Yea or telling the girl you like that you like her.
I was inwardly hysterically laughing at this point because, according to B & C, telling the person you like that you like him/her apparently requires just as much bravery and gumption as climbing Mt. Everest. Totally.
I kept my composure and, noticing the adorably quiet looks on their faces, I asked them about their girl crushes. Because–well, obviously that’s who they were thinking about.
C: The girl I like is S——, and the girl that B likes is K—–.
Me: Ok. S— and K—, pretty names.
B&C: *sheepish grins*
Me: So, C, why do you like S?
C: Well she’s funny, smart, tall–
B: C-sized! (C is tall for his age)
C: Yea, haha, C-sized…a pretty good athlete, nice…and…she can actually keep secrets.
Me: Oh, that’s important to you? Keeping secrets?
C: Yea super important. Because then sometimes she can rely on me and sometimes I can rely on her.
Me: Mm, yea I see. A girl you can trust.
C: Yea exactly.
Me: That’s good. So B, why do you like K?
B: Um…well…she’s kind and nice, she shows me how to build in minecraft and…she talks to me.
Me: Ohhh…so you like that she can help you…
Me: …and that she talks to you.
Well, there you have it ladies & gentlemen, some wise advice from some 3rd graders, which I’ve summarized below for easy understanding:
- Being brave means being honest and adventurous with your emotions…and climbing Mt. Everest.
- The ideal crush/gf/bf/mate is a helpful & trustworthy conversationalist who can keep secrets, is a good sport, has a sense of humor and intelligence, and helps you build things.
- Whether you’re a man or a mouse, a 3rd grader or an adult, you can be brave.