Literacies Circle: It’s Hard to Mess Up a Hug

A cousin from the middle Atlantic region remarked that grocery shopping in a pandemic pre-bombogenesis was a whole new level. People in the Great Lakes region are now taking heed for an impactful midweek winter storm. At this point, the three weather models point to anywhere from whopping 8 to 33 inches in my area, but of course, we could easily get just 1 or 2 inches and call it a dud.

Conversation in the form of restorative circles might feel too hard this week. Yet, controversies still whip up like strong blizzard winds and blow all over. People are asking me to please just tell them what they can do instead of creating more inquiry. Small things, please.

A White preteen, a White preschool girl, and a White elementary-age boy are cuddled on bed reading a children’s book together. All colors are pastel pinks, blues, and vanilla, including bedding.

What to do about the reading wars this week? Take a quick read from Nell Duke about Wordle. For now, play Wordle, Bananagrams, Scrabble, UpWords…or Sweardle or babble up toddler nonsense words that rhyme just for fun. 

What to do about educational gag orders this week? Change one word in how it is commonly said to our families and friends—a word that when changed, changes perspective toward historical truth and current humanity. One tweeter wrote, we weren’t massacred because we’re Jewish; we were massacred because of antisemitism. Another remarked to use the word the enslaved as opposed to slaves. And a 5th grade teacher respectfully calls her students young humans.

What to do about book bans this week? Keep in mind that educators have always scrutinized what is developmentally appropriate material for each grade level. They are not putting “porn” in third grade classrooms. Parent rights can be asserted on an individual basis through various opt-out systems in already place in our schools. Exercising parent rights should not put school and library boards in danger of violating freedom of speech—and freedom to read and write—for other people unlike themselves. And of course, be sure to get on library wait-lists or buy books that were challenged or banned. A great way to get kids and young adults motivated to read is to tell them the book was banned and then have them figure out why.  

What to do about staff shortages and low morale? Write to show you care. A local project is encouraging just that.

And Xchoi, a friend responding to our scanxiety week for metastatic osteosarcoma, offered prayers and a big hug…

because hugs don’t need words…it’s hard to mess up a hug.

Hunker down, cuddle up, light candles. Play with words. Read books. Write notes. And hug everyone safely in your pandemic and winter storm pod. 

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