Monday, September 24, 2007

Embracing the Conflicts

The other night I went to my son's high school to go from class to class and meet his teachers -- the usual fall experience known as "Open House."

It was a pretty good experience - especially meeting his English teacher.

This is a woman who has a clear love of the English language and of literature - I hope my son learns from her.

One of the things she talked about was teaching her students about the elements of a good story - the settings, characters, conflict, climax, and resolution.

Here's the interesting part - she said that she could use the same test for any number of books. It doesn't matter whether they're reading Jane Austen, Mark Twain, or S.E. Hinton - she could ask the same questions and they would still apply.

Somehow, I think all of our lives are like that. We all have our stories and we all think they're unique - but the reality is we could all be given the same set of questions and they would apply.

Here's the thing, though, while we all have settings and characters and conflict leading to a climax and resolution - I think most people just want to skip ahead to the resolution. They want to just live “the dream” - peaceful retirement, no problems, no worries, tee time at 10:30, nice weather, every day a holiday.

Or, maybe there's a desire to live just for the climax - to score the winning touchdown, get the true love's kiss, slay the dragon, or win the race. Some almost seem to throw their lives into chaos in an attempt to create that moment over and over again.

I wonder if we should maybe focus a little more of our attention on the conflict - really work through it - in order to give the climax and the resolution more of an impact.

I mean, think of your favorite story - it could be a book or a movie, it could be an adventure, a romance, anything. Now, imagine sharing that story with a friend, but just skipping to the end:
“…and she married Mr. Darcy and they lived happily ever after!”

“…and Luke blew up the deathstar and the Rebels won!”

“… and Neo just blew Agent Smith to pieces and the other guys ran away - it was so cool!”
Pretty lame storytelling, huh?

I think if our lives were just climaxes and resolutions they would be pretty lame, too.

So, here's to embracing some of those conflicts - may they make the climaxes and resolutions that much better.

1 comment:

The Cynical Cypress said...

You got us hooked on your random thoughts and observations, and then you leave us hanging. No wonder I'm still cynical.