Drinking the Water

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I find that I usually blog on one of two themes: one, something serious that is on my mind, or two, something lighthearted and funny (usually something that happened at school). One thing that I don't write about a lot, however, is my chronically single status, and there are many reasons for this. First and foremost, I don't want to sound like a whiner or that I'm somehow sorry and sad. Because I am neither one of those things. In fact, I actually think that as fortunate and blessed as I would be to find someone, there is someone who would be equally as fortunate and blessed to find me. I also don't write about it a lot because if there's one thing I don't want to be, it's a cliche, and a 31-year-old single gal whining about singleness is the most cliche thing out there.

On a matter that will seem unrelated but will turn out to be very, very related, I always try not to lie to my students. When they ask me something, I do try very hard to be as truthful as I can. (In an age-appropriate way.)

We just finished the novel Tuck Everlasting in sixth grade. (If you haven't read it, please go find it this weekend. It'll take you a day to read it.) I have loved this book since I was in fourth grade and have read it many times over the years. A couple weeks ago the students asked about who my favorite character was or something along those lines, and I told them that it has changed through the years. I tried to tell them that I've been reading this book for over 20 years, and that, as you get older and re-read books that you read for the first time at a young age, the way you view those books will change and grow as you change and grow.

Which, if you're in the sixth grade and the ripe old age of 11, means absolutely nothing. :)

In order to understand what I'm about to say next, which is the point of this whole post actually, you need to know a little about the plot of the novel. In brief, it is about an almost 11-year-old girl named Winnie who meets a family (a mom, a dad, and two sons) who drank from a spring and found out after they had done so that the spring caused eternal life. Winnie spends some time with them, and, in a certain point in the novel, the family has to leave town, so the 17-year-old (well, he's really much older because he has eternal life, but you get it) son Jesse gives Winnie a small bottle of water from the spring and tells her she should wait till she's 17, drink it, go find him, and they can get married and spend their lives together. One of the questions I posed to the students was, if you were Winnie, would you drink the water or not?

Today we read the epilogue, which provides us this information:

Then the students turned the question on me -- "Miss Lafferre, if you were Winnie would you have drunk the water?"

And I honestly didn't know what to say.

What I wanted to say was, "No I wouldn't have. The Tucks gave a convincing argument about why it was terrible to live forever, and we know that's not God's plan for creation."

However, what I thought was maybe. Maybe. Maybe I would have. Jesse loved Winnie, and Winnie, as young as she was, could have loved him. And that's a forever (no pun intended) kind of love, the kind they write novels about.

Maybe when I was in sixth grade and had the whole world ahead of me it would have been easy to say no. But, being 31 and knowing what I know about love being so hard to find, I might have said yes. Having Jesse might have been far too hard to give up. So, yes, maybe I would have drunk that water.

What I did say was, "I don't know, guys. I see why it's a terrible idea to drink it, but I also think maybe I would have. The older you get and the more experiences you have, your thoughts on these books you first read when you were kids will change. And you might change your mind about things you used to think."

They'll understand it when they're older.

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