October 30, 2013
Decisions in Success
In the short story, “Thank You, M’am” and the poems “Directions for Resisting the SAT” and “First Practice” we see guidance from one person and the ability to make the right decisions as a child. Specifically in “Thank You, M’am”, the author Langston Hughes makes the reader question his or her own moral compass through an attempt at stealing a purse. In “Directions for Resisting the SAT” the author Richard Hague challenges the reader to make their own decisions and not follow the norms of society. In “First Practice”, the author Gary Gildner depicts a football practice as a scenario for all firsts and how important preparation and perseverance is for success. All three of these are representations of how to make the right choices in life, suggesting that the most important qualities are good morals, strength, and perseverance.
In "Thank You, M'am" by Langston Hughes, Roger is taught a lesson through compassion rather than punishment. In this story, Roger is shocked and unable to understand why Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is acting the way she is. Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones chooses to show compassion to the boy because she understands. She says, "I have done things, too, which I will not tell you, son". By telling him this, she creates a connection allowing the boy to feel safe enough not to run when he has the chance. Also, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones gives the boy ten dollars and says "shoes [that] come by devilish like that will burn your feet". I believe that this is the end to the story because the boy understood the message. Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones influenced the boy from such kind acts and therefor he did the right thing. This short story shows that compassion, kindness, and understanding may be all a child needs to make the right decisions.
In "Directions for Resisting the SAT", Richard Hague is telling his readers not to let others define your life. He is using the SAT as a proxy because almost every student feels the need to take the test. He is not saying do not take the SAT's, but merely state what they represent. All students go in, thinking getting a 2400 means you will do well, but Hague says if, “desire to live whole, like an oyster or snail, and follow no directions" then you will be successful. He says to let people doubt you, because only you need to know what you are capable of. He stresses, "make your marks on everything" so that you choose the impact you make, not the impact others want you to make. Hague's advice to not follow societies conformities is helpful to students taking the SAT's and I think that is what makes the message more powerful.
Gary Gildner, in “First Practice”, effectively uses the first football practice to create an implied metaphor for adult life and the rude awakening teenagers are in for. Gildner is comparing the preparation of the first day of football to the realization of adult life. This poem is not only about preparing for a first of something, but it is also showing us endurance and discreet pride is important. He is showing endurance and perseverance when saying “if there were any girls present for them to leave now” (lines 11-13). He says girls not in the sense of gender, but in the sense of immature, naïve people. He is relaying a message that you must be an adult and strong to be able to accomplish what you want. He is also saying not to flaunt it once you have made something of yourself. “And if we are to win that title I want to see how. But I don’t want to see any marks when you’re dressed” (lines 23-26). He says this to make sure you understand to be honest about how you get somewhere, but also so that you don’t flourish in your success. Overall, Gary Gildner is declaring how to prepare and deal with success and victories.
The short story "Thank You M'am" by Langston Hughes relates to the policies at RYP. At RYP, when students do something wrong they are given a sheet to fill out. This sheet allows them to know they did something wrong, but they are responsible for stating what they did, why they did it, why it is wrong, and what they will do to justify the situation the best they can. This policy provides the student with the framework needed to realize they did something wrong and it gives them the chance to make the right decision in the future, just like Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones did with Roger. She gave him the option to leave, but he stayed, and she instructed him not to steal again, but that whether he will or not will be his choice in the future.
Richard Hague in “Directions for Resisting the SAT” is giving advice that is relatable to teenagers so that people will understand that at anytime in your life you can forget about societal conformities and live a life without rules. This relates to my experience at RYP because you teach the students to have hope. Even if they do not do well in a classroom setting that does not mean that they are not smart. They are each smart in their own way and they should not let norms get in the way of their dreams. I think this is an important concept at RYP because many of the students that do not speak English do not do well because they don't understand the information. This does not mean that they aren't smart and will not leave their mark, it means that they will be leaving different marks that are equally as great.
Gary Gildner’s “First Practice” relates to RYP because as a volunteer, you are trying to prepare the students to be successful. It is difficult work and it is time consuming, but when they finally understand what is being taught, the feeling of accomplishment is indescribable. They joy they have is far less then the joy you as the volunteer feels, but as the volunteer, you cant gloat about it, because it is not only your victory. It will make the student feel diminished to your success, and that is not what RYP is about. It is about making the student feel equally as joyus.
These important aspects are not only prominent at RYP, but also in everyday life. It is important to always be truthful and honest. It is important to always follow what you believe and make your own decisions. And it is important to always preserve.