It might almost be the end of January, and you might have forgotten your 2018 resolutions or intentions. Maybe you haven’t exercised as often as you had planned or maybe you haven’t cleaned out all the kitchen drawers or sorted out your budget. But according to the book and movie, Wonder, those sorts of things aren’t as important as kindness.
Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.
The kids and I read Wonder by R. J. Palacio a few years ago. I loved it so much, that I was equal parts thrilled and alarmed when I found out there was going to be a film based on the book. Thrilled because it would be wonderful to see such an amazing book brought to life in a different form and alarmed because – what if the film didn’t do justice to the book?
We all saw the film last week, and thought it was excellent – funny, heart-warming, perceptive and realistic. The movie was true to the book – obviously with some of the smaller details left out.
Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade. He’s never been to school before because his mother home-schooled him while he went through 27 operations on his face because he was born with a cranio-facial disorder. The book and film tell Auggie’s story of starting school for the first time, where he is bullied, ignored and eventually makes friends. It also follows the story of Via, Auggie’s older sister, who understands why Auggie needs to come first in their family but finds it frustrating at times. Other characters include Miranda, Via’s best friend, who now doesn’t talk to her, Justin, Via’s new boyfriend, Jack, Auggie’s new friend and Auggie’s parents.
At the end of the year, Mr Tushman, the principal at Auggie’s school, speaks at an assembly and reminds the students that raising hearts is what really matters.
This video with R. J. Palacio talking to young kids about kindness really shows her focus in both life and writing.
So maybe you haven’t ticked off your January to-do list but I bet you have raised a heart or two with a kind word or action. Here’s to raising hearts in 2018!