“A sense of contributing to form the world’s opinion makes conversation particularly cheerful.”
-- George Eliot, Middlemarch
Each day as I talk with my students about one thing or another, I feel almost continuously cheerful. There’s an easygoing, softhearted feeling that absolutely nothing can go wrong, that the students and I are working together to make the world a more sensible place and that the steady smile on my face makes perfect sense. We’re just a small collection of kids and an everyday teacher in an out-of-the-way classroom in the countryside of Connecticut, but what we do each day in our conversations creates something special that, I’m convinced, ripples out to the world in useful ways. We share our thoughts with respect and consideration, which by itself works a small miracle in a world made wild by insolence and bloodthirstiness. We listen thoughtfully to each other, looking for the wisdom in each statement, watching for small wonders in our words, choosing to add cheerfulness to the world instead of more meanness.