This week I re-read a book I read during high school called "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. I'm so glad I did. It's a great book about life and growing up, and although it centers around the poor, immigrant Nolan family, its messages are applicable to anyone. I think more than anything, this book has a power of helping you see that actions and choices can be bad and wrong, but when we look close, almost all people are good. It reminds us that we can't be fair judges of people's character when we don't know or consider their history. It has made me think a lot about the comparisons and contrasts between Francie's family and some of the students I work with here. For example, Francie's father was a drunk, yet he was a singer and a caring father and had an eye for all things beautiful. So I pity Francie's father for the reasons he drank and for his inability to esacape alcohol. So should I pity the students who turn to drugs because they need an escape from their hard lives? Should I pity the ones who go out and drink and party all weekend? Some things earn my pity. Some thinks don't. But I guess what it all comes down to is trying to see the person behind the sins and love them for who they are. I don't have my book with me to insert my favorite quote, but it descrives Francie's grandmother and says, "She was a blameless, sinless woman, yet she knew how it was with those who sinned." While I can't condone what others do, maybe I can try to put myself in their shoes and at least feel compassion for them.
Anyway, it is a great book and if you haven't read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" I highly reccomend it.