The first thing that struck me was the use of the word willful. Any time I have heard this word used, it has carried with it a negative connotation. Not today. Today willful meant full of will; and will could be goodwill. It could also be will-full in terms of standing up and speaking out for the common good. It was one of those AHA moments for me. It kept coming back to me as I walked around the exhibits at IRA and saw the GIANT booths for Pearson and other companies who are making HUGE profits from testing the living daylights out of our kids. Texas tests start next week, so seeing Pearson's name emblazoned on my IRA badge was NOT good. Nor did it make me feel better to see teachers flocking to booth promising better test scores in vocabulary and reading comprehension. AR was a large presence there as well. What booths seemed small? The ones with the real books in them; the ones that contained the materials to truly make readers. Those are where I spent my time, carrying away some ARCs for the next 4 days until TLA opens in Fort Worth. It made me will-full, thinking of how I need to continue to talk about what works when it comes to reading. If one were to look through the program at IRA, the answer would seem to be CCSS and Close Reading which dominated sessions. The good news is that other folks were there, too, talking about real reading, what I have called the UNprogram.
Back to the homily. As Father began the homily he asserted that love is a verb. He came back to that at the end of the sermon (classic architecture for a sermon, right) and added this: hope is a vision and love is a verb. My husband and I turned to one another simultaneously, smiled, interlocked fingers. It was one of THOSE moments. It is hard to describe just how powerful those two connected phrases were. But they resonated. We talked about it as we left the s=church, as we walked over to lunch on the river, as we walked back to the hotel behind the Alamo, as we sat and read our books as the sun was setting. A vision and a verb: hope and love.
I do have a vision (hope) that we will get back to the basics, the foundational stuff. I have to hang on to that vision (hope) because I love the kids, the ones you teach and the ones I teach. These kids must have the vision (hope) that they can change the world. They must love the world, too, even in its sometimes sad and flawed state.
On this Monday, I wish you hope (vision) and love.