In mostly all of my classes I’m not what you would classify as an active participant. I usually shy away from sharing my opinions out of fear that they aren’t enlightening enough or that I may be repeating something that was implicit in another student’s analysis. Throughout this semester this class has not only made me want to participate, but I have enjoyed it. I think this is because of the no holds barred conversations that emerge. This class has taught me to become a lot more open minded about social, political, and emotional issues. There are some classes where I have read a text that I have completely despised, but in this class I have enjoyed everything we’ve read. I truly feel like I can say how I feel and not be judged, but rather understood and appreciated.
For me, our class is much like the “Penguins’ Situation” that Hettinga talks about in “A wrinkle in Faith.” Our class, like the Penguin’s situation, creates true intimacy over time (the course of a semester), a safe environment (small class, like Mary Rose O’Reilly’s “Peaceable Classroom”), and the willingness of the participants to hazard risks (reading banned books). Home this weekend I was on the train with my family and we got to talking to another family. They had two young daughters and one young son. Out of nowhere one of the young girls looks over to me and says “Daddy is the laziest man I know and I love him!” I immediately burst out laughing and so did everyone else. The young girl felt no embarrassment for blurting out whatever she felt. I envied her, and it reminded me of the freedom I feel from the conversations in our class. The emancipatory model that Gailbrath is presenting is a strong tactic in understanding children. By reentering and reevaluating their own childhood I agree that it would be easier to support and negotiate with your child without breaking their innocent spirit, like the one I encountered this weekend. This innocent spirit is something that L’Engle has touched upon. Using Meg as her main character in A Wrinkle of Time she is able to solve the problems in her novel with the simple conclusion that Love conquers hate.
As an author, L’Engle is just giving readers a taste of what she feels life is like for her, and she is not afraid to say how it. The ability to say how you feel is not something that should be taken for granted, because today in polite society sometimes we feel it is smarter to keep our mouths shut. I have realized, like Alex has previously mentioned, that many people are afraid. They are afraid of speaking their minds, standing up for what they believe in, and mostly afraid of disturbing the “status quo.” Because of our class I have learned that its better not to be afraid, but to delight in the fear and press forward with issues that excite you.
I prepared my presentation for today’s class and focused mainly on tattoo banning. During my research I came across a quite colorful character (literally and metaphorically speaking). Lucky Diamond Rich, known as the most tattooed man in history, has covered his body with 8 layers of ink, claims he only has one tattoo, and believes that his work of art will not be finished until the day he dies as it continues to be a "work in progress". He believes that people tend to think that tattoos restrict you from life but that it is the complete opposite. In an interview I found on youtube he was asked about his tattoo “it still isn’t finished?”, and he responded “never will be…” Rich’s tattoos free him from the confines of social normality and this freedom allows him to grow and progress with every tattoo he gets. I was immediately intrigued and amazed by his devotion to this art and completely agreed with his philosophy.