The freshmen are reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm. I love history and teaching the kids about Josef Stalin and Russia is a passion for me. However, for some reason, most teens in 2013 are not as excited about this as I am. Therefore, I continually look forward to finding ways to bring the novel’s themes to the lives of the students of today.
This summer I ran across “The 10 Cannots” by William Boetcker. He was an American religious leader and influential public speaker during his lifetime (1873-1962).
Born in Hamburg, Germany, he was ordained a Presbyterian minister soon after his arrival in the United States as a young adult. The Rev. Boetcker was ordained in Brooklyn, New York. (Wikipedia)
Boetcker also spoke of the “Seven National Crimes:”
▪ I don’t think.
▪ I don’t know.
▪ I don’t care.
▪ I am too busy.
▪ I leave well enough alone.
▪ I have no time to read and find out.
▪ I am not interested.
Everyday, I see these crimes committed in the classroom. (To be truthful, I am the one committing some of these every once in a while.) Consequently, while rereading my notes, I started to reflect on my life and “crimes.” Soon, I will present these questions to my classes with the hope that they will see some connections to an “old” book and their lives.
- How do you think critically?
- How do you become knowledgeable, even on matters that don’t interest you?
- How are you a caring, active member of the community
- What are your unproductive and unfulfilling activities?
- How do you get involved in their community life?
- What have you read recently?
- What is your passion in life?
“Never mind what others do,” Boetcker said. “Do better than yourself, beat your own record from day-to-day, and you are a success.”
Wish me luck…
Please note: the related articles are meant to make you think. They do not necessarily represent my ideas.
- Half of Russians remain positive about Stalin (rbth.ru)
- Animal Farm – by George Orwell, 1945 (lijing8822.wordpress.com)
- Confronting Stalin’s Legacy, 60 Years After His Death (reason.com)
- Obama Says Some Americans More Equal than Others Like ‘Animal Farm’ (politicaloutcast.com)