Thursday, October 20, 2011


When I discovered this morning that the word "finish" derives from the same Latin root that gives us "fine", it got me thinking about all the fine finish lines my students and I cross in each class. We create thoughts by the thousands as we think our way through the assignments, lessons, and literature we're working with, and all those thoughts are fine just as they are. They may not be the thoughts that "deep thinkers" think, or that college professors praise, or that produce a perfect set of grades for class, but they are the thoughts that came to us, and therefore they are fine just as they are. They are finished, you might say -- as sensible and polished as possible at this particular moment. Can they shift and transform and become thoroughly different thoughts? Of course, but that doesn't mean the new thoughts are any better or brighter or finer -- just newer. Each of our English class thoughts comes wrapped in the stylish ribbons of the present moment, and each, in a sense, crosses the finish line of thinking in celebratory triumph. It's like our minds during English class are playing-fields where robust and successful thoughts -- which is all of them -- are finishing races with a fine kind of flair.

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