Thursday, June 07, 2012

Who were you at 12 or 13?

Ray Bradbury passed away this week. (Tuesday, May 5, 2012) In my newspaper this morning there was a write up about him. I read it with interest and a little melancholy, but one thing stuck with me -- a quote of his from 1982:

"The great thing about my life is that everything I've done is a result of when I was 12 or 13."

This stayed with me for a couple reasons. First, I teach 12- and 13-year-olds. And we do a brief science fiction unit each year and read a few of Ray Bradbury's short stories. I thought the quote would be perfect to work up into a display during our sci-fi unit.

Second, I really do believe that there is something important that happens at 12 or 13. It's an age when kids are  past childhood, but not quite fully into adolescence. It's a time when they know what they like and what they don't like, and they're dreaming about the future. I deliberately chose to teach 7th grade students because I like that age of kids. They're malleable, flexible, intelligent and ready to laugh.

Ray Bradbury's quote had me thinking about myself at 12 or 13. We moved from our house in Hyrum to live with my Kofoed grandparents while my dad was building our new house. Looking back, I did things then that I still do now. I still write in a journal. I still mow the lawn and work in the yard. I didn't really enjoy cooking then, and I'm not enthusiastic about it now. I did craft projects, played the piano, and enjoyed looking through Country Living Magazine. I took long walks though the neighborhood and noticed landscaping techniques.

I can't completely say that "everything I've done is a result of when I was 12 or 13", but I'm certainly still the same person.