What Were You Thinking?

Yesterday, a particularly thoughtful student said she wanted to start a blog.  She’s been thinking about this for a long time.  As we walked together, she said, “I wouldn’t have anything to say, though.  What would I write about?”

I wonder if what she really means is:  “What would I write about that anybody would care about?” 

The desire to make our internal thoughts external immediately comes under attack.  We often stay supremely private because we feel we have nothing worthwhile to say.  Our observations aren’t valuable contributions, so we stay quiet and unheard.

We think that nobody would care anyway.  

If only we would share!  If only we all could talk openly about our thoughts and have others honor them.  Not because they were clever or wise or funny.  Not because they were politically or socially popular or trendy.

Sometimes I ask my daughters to tell me what they are thinking about.  My oldest reveals she’s been wondering why in the world garlic wards off vampires.

When I ask students what they are thinking about, the weight of silence in the room unsettles me.  I ask them to write me something instead.  Just a paragraph.  Just a few sentences. 

That evening, I burst into tears at my desk as I read paragraph after paragraph of “what they were thinking.”  Such depth!  Such complexity!  Such unique viewpoints!  Why don’t they share these out loud?  Why don’t they proclaim these things?

Might I change the climate in that classroom (and in my home) to have them speak up?  I want to hear everything you are thinking about.

Even if it’s about garlic, I want to hear it.

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