I thought I'd share an activity that I did with my students today with all of you. We had just finished reading a short story in which the main character (a teenage girl) was struggling to figure out who she was and her place in the world. While reading the story, the kids shared a lot about how they could relate to the main character and they were upset that the story didn't have any real resolution or "answers" for them. Today, when they came in to the room, I had the following question up on the overhead for them to answer in their reading journals: "After finishing the story yesterday, many of you were upset to discover that there was no specific resolution to Emily's conflict because of the connection you felt to her situation. Take a moment and answer the following question in your journal (unlike typical entries, you DO NOT have to explain your answer or share it with anyone, including me. At the end of journal time, if you don't want me to read it when I review your journals, just fold the page and mark it "private."): If someone could only say one thing to describe you (to both people who know you and people who have never met you), what would you want it to be?" After they answered, I had them close their journals and we didn't discuss the question at all (normally I have a couple students share their response). We went on with the day's lesson. At the very end of class, one student asked why we hadn't shared our reading journals at all or even talked about the question. My response was that the answer to the question is really only valuable and meaningful to the person who wrote it and that whenever they struggle to figure out who they are and what their place is, they should think of their answer and use that to guide their decisions and their actions. It was the first time, I have ever experienced stunned silence in a middle school classroom. The silence broke with the ringing of the dismal bell a few moments later. As the kids left, several came up to me to say thank you for the question or to tell me that they thought it was a "cool" question. So, just like the kids, I pose the same challenge to you. As adults, our world can get so busy and crazy that we either get overwhelmed or lose sight of what we want to do/be. Take a moment and answer the same question for yourself.