What goes through the mind of a child between the ages of 9-12?
Much time has passed since I was that age and so you must excuse me if my own remembrances are rusty. I saw myself as a happy child, brought up in a safe, comfortable setting with a close-knit family.
I cannot project my own experience onto that of my students, nor am I a mind-reader. When a student comes into a classroom sad or ill-tempered, should I predict that something happened at home to trigger the mood? Or if someone seems happy, could that possibly be a mask?
Children, like adults, have issues, too. There are tragedies, tense family situations, pressures to achieve. As teachers, we don’t always know what lurks behind the moods of children, yet we still have to deal with it. And so how we approach the children is important. We must never take anything personally; we must never assume that everyone is happy all the time and that anything we say can affect one’s attitude. Sometimes negatively.
My book, in general, presents a well-adjusted group of students, strong in their support of one another. They have their own issues which do not surface in the novel (except for Paul’s sadness over his mother’s death and Chad’s depression over his father’s alcoholism) but I focused mainly on their healthy interactions in their school. If anything, I tried to illustrate that friendship is vital to one’s life. Maslow would agree with me: check out his Hierarchy of Needs.