Friday, June 26, 2009

There Was A Bad Dream In My Bed

The children tell us so much in their stories. We just need to know how to listen.

In my last post I shared Jarin's poem:

There was a bad dream in my bed.
I slept in my bed.
I slept in my bed for a long time.
I got up out of my bed.
Then I thought it was day time.

I've been Jarin's teacher for the past three years, and one of the things I've learned about him is that he tends to be a pretty concrete guy. He didn't tell a lot of stories and when he did it tended to be nonfiction, usually autobiographical.

After reading the poem/story, Jarin's mom Leslie responded by email: (For the sake of clarity, Jarin has a younger brother.)

This story sheds some light on why he would spontaneously change beds. We’ve packed 3 beds in the boy’s room (including bunk beds). Over the past year, they have played “musical beds”. Often, they would start in one bed, and when I checked on them later, they were cuddled together in a different bed. At one point, a few months ago, Jarin refused to sleep in one of the beds. He said there were bad dreams in it. I just rolled with his explanation – seemed reasonable. He has not slept in that bed alone for some time. Funny!

I'm compelled by the image of his bad dream living outside himself. It's a wonderful literary device. His is an epic poem about the attempt to sleep in a bed with a bad dream. He tried to sleep with it for "a long time" -- until it was "day time". And even if "a long time" meant 5 minutes and even if day time was 9:28 p.m., it felt like a long time and he sure "thought" it was time to get up. This is a small story of great courage. I don't think I could have lasted even that long in bed with a bad dream.

And what a brilliant solution! Just get into the other bed! Listen up people!

1 comment:

Deborah Stewart said...

The wonder of a child's words - I love your reflections and the exact way you print their words.