I’m not kidding about the following coincidences happening in my world at the moment.
- Approximately five hours ago I was using Dorothy’s quest in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to teach my students about Joseph Campbell’s “monomyth” known as the Hero’s Journey.
- Just 2 hours ago, I settled into the driver’s seat of my parked van as I waited for K’s basketball practice to end. I was reading Beyond the Yellow Brick Road.
- And now, my ears are listening to the sweet sound of K playing “Over the Rainbow” for his piano teacher.
- One more thing – I live in Kansas.
There’s nothing earth shattering about any of these occurrences; however, I’ve learned something important today from each.
1. In Frank Baum’s book, Dorothy was “Called to Adventure” by a tornado; it swept her up and dropped her in a strange new land. Dorothy would then begin Campbell’s stage which is commonly referred to as “Entering the Unknown.” And once she crossed that threshold, her ordinary, old world would never be quite the same again.
Our tornado was what some are calling “typical teenage behavior.” Typical or not, it was destroying our family life. Then, like Dorothy, we entered several of our own “unknowns.” There’s no going back now; but that’s okay. The days behind us weren’t always that great.
2. My new book is not a book about Dorothy. The subtitle to Beyond the Yellow Brick Road is “Our Children and Drugs.” Each paragraph leading up to page 32 has been helpful, and now – believe it or not- it’s actually shifted into another positive adjective…hopeful.
Bob Meehan writes on page 32,
“Thus far, I have presented adolescence as a period of relentless pain, and I’ve made teenagers out to be obnoxious, offensive people. But I love them. I love their spontaneity, their vitality, their curiosity, their eagerness to learn, and their lack of inhibitions. And I see a strange beauty in their awkwardness. Most important, I love working with them because even the most messed-up teenager can change. And they really want to…Every time I meet a new teenager, no matter how desperate his plight may be, a feeling of hope overwhelms me. I know he can change.”
I know that M is not even close to being what he would consider as a “most messed-up teenager.” Therefore, change for us is just somewhere over the rainbow.
3. And that brings me to K’s piano lesson. The new piece he is working on at the moment is “Over the Rainbow.”
What are the odds?