Being Brave & Other Things, According to 3rd Graders

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.

B: Ohhhh…yea…

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…

B: Yea.

Me: …and that she talks to you.

B:  Haha…yea.

Well, there you have it ladies & gentlemen, some wise advice from some 3rd graders, which I’ve summarized below for easy understanding:

  1.  Being brave means being honest and adventurous with your emotions…and climbing Mt. Everest.
  2. 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.
  3. Whether you’re a man or a mouse, a 3rd grader or an adult, you can be brave.


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