Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
Over the Moon
For nearly a year we had the same conversation a zillion times in our house. Our kids, all busy teenagers, wanted a dog. Andy and I know life is easier without a dog. We were firm with the no-dog decision.
This did not stop our kids from discussing their hope for a dog. They volunteered at a local animal shelter and each time came home with a report of the perfect dog. “If we get a dog, we are getting a puppy,” I said.
Their friends sent pictures of their new puppies, and the kids showed us. “A puppy would be fun,” I said.
They kept up with local dog breeders and gave us updates. “We’re not getting a dog,” Andy said.
One day Sam pressed hard, and I snapped. Instead of my usual sweet but noncommittal response, I spat, “We’re not getting a dog. It’s not going to happen. Let it go.”
I saw him shrink. The news spread to the other kids, and they were just as disheartened. I wanted to defend our choice, reminding them that we had consistently said we were not getting a dog.
Instead, I wondered if Andy and I were making the wrong choice. We began to talk about our no-dog decision. There was no question, being dogless was easier. Is there more to making a right decision than ease? Why were we so adamantly against a new dog?
We are an active family. Without a dog, the house stays cleaner, and we can be more spontaneous. Although this is pragmatic, it is also true that the sting of losing a dog can be enough to want to avoid the hurt in the future.
We are dog people. This means our lives are more complete when a dog is part of our family. Our kids’ hearts had holes from missing the companionship of a dog. Andy and I were jaded from losing our last dog after spending so much energy and love in setting right habits that can come with older dogs adopted from the shelter. We didn’t have the energy to attend to the high needs of adding a dog to the house.
Yet, our kids needed a win. The easy choice turned out to be the wrong choice.
Recently, we welcomed home our Luna, a 10-week-old German shepherd puppy. Although we were right that a puppy disrupts our well-established routines, we are discovering that she was the right decision.
We are over the moon. And I find myself wondering if there are other decisions I should reevaluate because the easy choice isn’t always the right choice.
This week we look at honoring student identity. Plus more as always—enjoy!
Editor, Choice Literacy
Helping students find and raise their voices so that they can someday change the world is one of the most important things we do. Cathy Mere shares some of her favorite mentor texts for this essential work.
The start of the school year is often all about building reader identities in classrooms. And then November comes, and many of the activities that help students celebrate their reading histories and preferences are forgotten. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share ways teachers can continue to help students define, refine, and expand their reading identities all year long.
Tammy Mulligan returns to teaching first grade and immediately creates agency and independence during writing workshop. Tammy explains how her students are setting their own goals as writers.
Our courses are being redesigned and will be released this winter. At that time, all courses will be free for Literacy Leader members, and select courses will be free for Classic Classroom members. Courses are available to purchase for everyone else.
New members-only content is added each week to the Choice Literacy website. If you’re not yet a member, click here to explore membership options.
Christy Rush-Levine considers how to communicate to all students that their presence and their identities are valued and appreciated.
Suzy Kabak thinks deeply about the concept of belonging as an essential part of building a school community.
In this week’s video Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Sidney brainstorm ideas for a story. She uses her own experiences in writing to instruct.
In an encore video, Christy Rush-Levine confers with eighth grader Bridget, coaxing her to compare and contrast the reading experience and plot twists in books.
Next week we will be on holiday for Thanksgiving. You can catch up on the Big Fresh issues you might have missed by accessing the full archives at this link.
When David Pittman says no to a task outside his coaching role, he shows a commitment to his priorities. David describes the tension and nuances of saying no, and the effect it can have on coaching relationships.
Matt Renwick encourages a continuous effort of ensuring the systems of a school are operating as they should by maintaining relationships, literacy and learning, and presence.
Stephanie Affinito explores the power of old-school notes and cards in coaching.
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
That’s all for this week!