Saturday, July 09, 2011


I used to not believe in miracles, but over the course of my many years in the classroom I have come to see them as almost commonplace, especially when it comes to thoughts. After all, isn’t a single thought – the appearance, out of the blue, of an idea – a true miracle? We’re sitting somewhere, perhaps sipping a 7up or saying something special to a friend, when presto, a thought comes to us as if on a breeze from the back of beyond. We know nothing of where it came from or why, just that it’s here with us and shaping our life a little differently. And these mysterious helpers – these powerful forces we have named “thoughts” -- come to us some tens of thousands of times each day! I often think of this during a 9th grade English class, when it would be easy to see dullness and tedium instead of miraculousness. It helps me to remember that, at any given second of any class, dozens of brand new thoughts are being born – thoughts that no thinker has exactly had since thinking began. What greater miracle is there, really, than the birth of something as fresh and strong as an idea – and it happens in a non-stop way in my classes. It may be an idea like “It’s a beautiful day outside”, or “I think I’ll call Jimmy tonight” or something more extraordinary like “I finally understand this poem”, but whatever form it takes, an idea is a darting signal of change in a person’s life: our minds are made over ever so slightly by each and every infant idea, every smallest miracle of thought.

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