Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Once upon a time, I used to believe in happily ever after. And deep, down in my jaded soul I still do. I recently taught a Fairy Tale Unit to my First Graders. We spent four weeks discussing and writing about all of the typical elements including: royalty, evil characters, good vs evil, enchantment, and of course happily ever after.
I tried to get them to think outside of the box a bit. Must every princess be locked in a tower waiting? Maybe the Princess can have her own sword and slay a few dragons on her own? Maybe the Queen Mother comes to the rescue? Maybe the Prince is the one in peril? Maybe the Prince and Princess work together to conquer evil?
They agreed to be open minded and include a few storylines that were off the beaten path. However, one thing they clung to and refused to compromise on was True Love's Kiss. Story after story ended with The Kiss. It didn't matter if the princess had been turned into a frog, a pig, a rabbit or a statue. It didn't matter that the Prince was buried under 10 feet of ice. Even if the witch gave up on the spell or the stepmother ran away, or the King slashed everything in his sight with a laser beam - the end of each story ended with "and then they kissed and lived happily ever after."
I didn't have the heart to tell them they have a far greater chance of having a Wicked Stepmother than of finding True Love's Kiss. Because maybe they will. I was raised on General Hospital and Cinderella. I believe good always wins. I mean if Robin Scorpio Drake can come back from the dead after that lab explosion, then there is hope that Jason Morgan will find his way back to Port Charles one day. Jason cannot be dead. Romance cannot be dead.
As my students edited and read their stories to each other I realized just how much I influence them. Many of the happily ever afters included "and then we read together and had Dunkin Donuts coffee." Is that happily ever after? It is damn close.
It may have taken Edward 100 years to find Bella, but he did eventually find her. A hundred years isn't so long to wait for forever.
And so I encouraged them to believe in their dreams. Maybe as Hodge said, "all the stories are true!" Maybe they will get their happily ever afters, maybe we all will.
In the words of President Snow, the only thing stronger than fear is hope.
"May the odds be ever in your favor."