Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Come quickly: I am tasting the stars.

This New Year's Eve I'm rereading The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. 

I just got to the champagne part…

A sturdy young waiter with wavy blond hair appeared. He was maybe even taller than Augustus. "Do you know," he asked in a delicious accent, "what Dom Pérignon said after inventing champagne?"
"No?" I said.
"He called out to his fellow monks, 'Come quickly: I am tasting the stars.'"

Have a happy new year! 
Best wishes "tasting the stars" 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

the future

The single most important thing we can do…

This short documentary on the future of learning had me inspired to look at education in a new way. 

Then, I was lucky enough to read Who Owns the Learning? : Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age by Alan November. This book is inspiring. It is full of practical tips, wonderful questions, and engaging stories for transforming education. All educators - at every level and ability - should read this book. 

I loved it!

I highlighted more of the book than not. Here are some of my favorite bits:
"The power of purpose and meaningful contribution has been missing from our classrooms and our youth culture for some time. While life outside our schools has changed dramatically over the past century, we cling to an early industrialized classroom model that often fails to encourage collaboration, innovation, a global work ethic, or critical problem-solving skills."

"The essential skill of the 21st century is knowing how to ask the most interesting questions."

"Today, very little of the work we give students in school provides them with a sense that they are making a contribution to anything other than their own educational progress toward graduation."

"High-performance workers need to be self-directed and interdependent. Learning how to learn is an essential lifelong skill. Global empathy is a critical skill for anyone hoping to identify global opportunities and secure foreign markets and customers."

 The parts of the book on 'Student Scribes', 'Student Researchers', 'Global Communicators and Collaborators', and 'Learning the Grammar of Online Search Engines' is not to be missed.

Read this book!

Then, after you read it, watch Alan November's Prezi.

This book beautifully illustrates that teaching our students to fully leverage 21st century skills in information and communication technologies extends beyond introducing them to new tools. When students are given the opportunity to have purpose and ownership in their work, amazing things will happen. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

Some people have thick skin and you don't.

Last night I read Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair by Anne Lamott. It's a sewing metaphor for taking life stitch by stitch. "We live stitch by stitch, when we're lucky." It's a lovely little book and would make a wonderful gift for all Anne Lamott fans.

"As far as I can recall, none of the adults in my life ever once remembered to say, 'Some people have thick skin and you don't. Your heart is really open and that is going to cause you pain, but that is an appropriate response to this world. The cost is high, but the blessing of being compassionate is beyond your wildest dreams. However, you're not going to feel that a lot in seventh grade. Just hang on.'" 
-Anne Lamott, Stitches

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

an antidote to Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Everything that comes to you has a story… give thanks, continuously give thanks.

Worn Wear is an invitation to celebrate and give thanks for what you already have... those things that have contributed to your advancement.

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bravo Patagonia! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

middle school… the only way out is through

I may love John Green even more...

… quiet, unique, and miserable in middle school.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

a mandala of sorts

I'm reading a book by Lodro Rinzler: The Buddha Walks Into A Bar… A Guide To Life For A New Generation. Someone on twitter recommended it, and I'm feeling bad that I can't remember who because I would like to thank them.

It's one of those books that came along with a great message … a message that has now been recurring for me in many different forms of media.

Let me explain, or rather, let Shakespeare explain…
"There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so."  - Hamlet to Horatio

What I like about Buddhism is that it is essentially the study of ourselves… of our thinking, of the intentions behind our actions.

In Buddhism, a mandala is like an organizational chart of concentric circles. Whatever is your chief motivation lies at the center of your mandala. By becoming inquisitive about our lives and peeling away our habitual behaviors, we can discover our root motivation and make it central to who we are.
"From there we radiate out. All our activities can be infused with our core belief. When we do that, we live a life we can be proud of, and a life that has a positive effect on everyone we encounter." - Lodro Rinzler

So this idea of a mandala, of concentric circles, of finding our core belief and working from the inside out… all started to look so familiar:

It was looking a lot like Simon Sinek's book Start With Why. I'm also a big fan of Chris Guillebeau and World Domination Summit… which inspires us to live a remarkable life in a conventional world.

Doing 'what' you do is conventional. 'Why' you do what you do is remarkable.

And then I read this quote from George Lucas:
"The sciences are the how, and the humanities are the why. Why are we here? Why do we believe in the things we believe in? I don't think you can have the 'how' without the 'why'."

Living from the inside out… from your 'why', your core belief. If our core belief involves kindness, compassion, inspiration… we can have a positive effect on those around us.

Are you living from the inside out?

What's your chief motivation? Why do you do what you do?

Friday, November 8, 2013

the ultimate equation

Physics told me some crazy stuff...

Why Do I Study Physics? (2013) from Xiangjun Shi on Vimeo.

… and it's funny, I think, how I can live with that.

Aimless Love

You are probably familiar with the poet Billy Collins. He was the US Poet Laureate from 2001-2003, and the New York State Poet Laureate from 2004-2006, and he won the Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry in 2005. Or, maybe you know him from his amazing TED talk…

Perhaps, you may have seen Billy Collins last month on the Colbert Report. It was while watching Colbert Report, where the poet laureate joined Stephen Colbert in reading a new poem, that I found out Mr. Collins had a new book of poetry, Aimless Love

Of course, I had to get a copy.

It is a wonderful collection, and the perfect gift for all those poetry lovers on your holiday list.

Along with To My Favorite 17-Year-Old High School Girl (the poem read on the Colbert Report) my favorite new poem was Quandary:


I was a little disappointed
in the apple I lifted from a bowl of fruit
and bit into on the way out the door,
fuzzy on the inside and lacking the snap of the ripe.

Yesterday it was probably perfect,
I figured, as I held it out before me,
soft red apple bearing my tooth marks,
as if I were contemplating the bust of Aristotle.

I considered all the people
who would be grateful to have this apple,
and others who might find it in their hearts
to kill me before slipping it into a pocket.

And I considered another slice
of the world's population, too,
those who are shielded from anything
as offensive as a slightly imperfect apple.

Then I took a second bite, a big one,
and pitched what was left
over the tall hedges hoping to hit on the head
a murderer or one of the filthy rich out for a stroll.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

an astronaut's guide...

Chris Hadfield's book is out: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. If you haven't seen the book trailer, it's awesome… and made by Col. Chris Hadfield's son.

Maybe you're one of the 1 million twitter followers who have marveled at Chris Hadfield and his time on the International Space Station… if not, it's time to catch up. Check him out on twitter. Col. Hadfield regularly sent tweets from space, responded to questions from students, and shared pictures of his amazing view.

Check out his interview on Studio Q. He has a great story...

His view of our little planet reminded me of Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot...

If you're interested in learning ...  "What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything" read Col. Chris Hadfield's new book.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

be a celebrator

“Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued. To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.”

- Maria Popova

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

consciousness inhabiting a body

Russell Brand keeps popping up in my consciousness… 

I love the notion that the repetition implies a message for me… and I love his idea that "the time is now".

And don't miss Russell Brand on Gaiman TV. I loved it. "Be nice" is something we all can do. During the interview (2:30 into it) Daniel Pinchbeck references Russell Brand's experience on MSNBC. That clip can be seen HERE. It's a stunning glimpse into the rudeness of the anchors.

What do you think of his message? Is it to be trivialized, as many have done, or does it speak to you?

As for me… Kindness and Compassion always speak the truth.

Monday, October 28, 2013

a love affair with reading

When a book alludes to having a love affair with reading… I know I have found a new friend.

I just read Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts - and Life by Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts. (… bonus, there's a forward by Donalyn Miller)

This book will have a huge, positive impact on reading instruction and the interpretation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

I love how the book is organized, and its near 'fail-safe' explanations of how to use Close Reading in the classroom.

Our ritual for teaching students to read closely developed into three steps, steps that are connected and that help students navigate this complex skill set in more approachable ways:
1. First, read through lenses: Decide what you will be paying attention to while reading and collect those details.
2. Next, use lenses to find patterns: Look across all of the details you have collected and find patterns.
3. Finally, use the patterns to develop a new understanding of the text: Consider these patterns in light of what you have already learned from the text. Put these together to develop a new understanding of the text or a deeper, evidence-based interpretation.

That excerpt may sound a bit  textbookish, but Falling in Love with Close Reading is filled with passion, excitement, and independence. 

It is an exciting time to be young. Our students are growing up surrounded by more text and media than at any other time in human history. By some estimates, in the span of one year, roughly one million books are published and over one trillion web pages of information are accessible ("Did You Know 4.0"). Never before has so much information been so readily available. Global events unfold in real time across social networks, and questions can be researched and answered in mere moments. Our students are growing up in a world where knowledge and experience is just waiting to be harnessed."

Word Choice, Organization, Structure, Perspective, Point of View… there is so much fun to be had in close reading. We can read to understand the ideas of the text, while at the same time revealing the techniques the author uses. Close reading can bring an amazing new awareness of how ideas are shared and how we choose to interact with those ideas.

I want every young adult to read and understand chapter five, Through Your Eyes: A Study of Point of View and Argument. I am in love with a future where students are aware of what the author assumes is true, where students wonder if the author's idea of truth is universal or simply the way he/she sees the world. I adore the idea of students asking themselves, "What does the author value or believe?" Or "What does the author think about certain groups of people?" By reading in a way that tries to understand what someone believes, we can begin to see the sound and not-so-sound ideas that different people operate under.

We want our students to be more aware of the points of view and arguments embedded in most texts. We want them to read these texts closely so that they don't only walk away with a broad sense of the author's argument, but instead are able to examine texts for the subtle points they are trying to make.  And we very much want students to be able to do this in their lives as well. We want them to look around their lives as they become young adults and see other's perspectives, analyze the arguments they and others are making, and critique those arguments and perspectives when they find them wanting. Above all, we want our students to gain insight and wisdom as they engage with and create their own arguments about their world.

Chapter six is my personal favorite, The Family Tree: Closely Reading Across Texts

No one book, article, poem, or play is an island.

I am a fan of collecting and curating characters and settings and themes…. making connections and comparisons across media, for me, is a true pleasure. Nothing exists in isolation - not books, not ideas, not art - no one is ever alone. The interconnections of close reading may, when it belongs to students, help them find their place in a complex world.

The ritual of reading a text closely with a lens, looking for patterns, and then having new understandings is designed so that these structures become ingrained habits, and that these habits then become independent practices for your students.

I loved this book! I think all teachers of reading and writing should get this book, grab a pencil, and begin… 

Follow Chris Lehman on twitter: @ichrislehman

Follow Kate Roberts on twitter: @teachkate

Chat along with others who have read Falling in Love with Close Reading on twitter with  #FILWCloseReading

Still want more? Check out the Close Reading blog-a-thon.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I have decided

I have decided to find myself a home
in the mountains, somewhere high up
where one learns to live peacefully in
the cold and the silence.  

It's said that in such a place 
certain revelations may be discovered.  
That what the spirit reaches for 
may be eventually felt, 
if not exactly understood.  Slowly, 
no doubt. I'm not talking about a vacation.

Of course at the same time I mean to
stay exactly where I am.

Are you following me?

- Mary Oliver

Saturday, October 19, 2013

be a storyteller

The future of storytelling...

Storytelling is about creating connections with each other... with words and images and emotions and energy. We pay attention to stories... around a campfire, while drinking tea, sitting in a coffee house, with a book in your hand and a child in your lap... stories get passed on when they matter, when they intentionally create deeper connections.

What ever your platform, be a storyteller.

The future belongs to the stories we tell. What role will you play?

Friday, October 18, 2013

on looking

I was at a dinner/fundraiser the other night for The Cabin, and my table mate was photographer, Jay Saenz. It was one of those nights where you felt that the world is filled with talented, passionate people doing what they love.

Jay, amazing in his own right, told me about an awesome project/book :   Humans of New York (or Hony, to those in the tribe).

Check Out:

The Human Behind 'Humans of New York' article on Mashable

The Book Humans of New York

Humans of New York Facebook page

Jay Saenz's portrait project 150 Faces of Boise

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

a hero's journey

Last night I watched the 2011 documentary Finding Joe. It explores the impact of Joseph Campbell's teachings on contemporary culture... and a belief in the hero's journey.

"I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive." - Joseph Campbell

The Hero's Journey: the challenges, the fears, the dragons, the battles, and the return home as a changed person.

"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek."- Joseph Campbell

Sunday, October 13, 2013

it's a magical world

The other day on BookRiot there was a post entitled, "Sixteen Things Calvin and Hobbes Said Better Than Anyone Else". I loved it... but it made me realize, I haven't thought about Bill Watterson in a while.

So I pulled out a copy of The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book, and fell back in love with a boy and his tiger.

And, you know how it is when you start thinking about someone... they start showing up everywhere? I had a friend send me the 1990 Kenyon College Commencement address given by Bill Watterson.


Then I remembered this:


Then I saw this:


And, today, I learned that a new documentary entitled Dear Mr. Watterson comes out this November 15th.

What haven't you thought about in a while? Maybe it's something you used to love, like Calvin and Hobbes. Start remembering... and see what happens.

Or as Calvin would say, "It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy…Let’s go exploring!"

love was the answer

"Looking back over a lifetime, 
you see that love was the answer to everything."

- Ray Bradbury

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Malcolm Gladwell, the inverted-U, and a pond of your own choosing

I'm reading Malcolm Gladwell's new book, David and Goliath. I heard him interviewed by Kai Ryssdal on Marketplace and knew I had to read it.

The overarching thesis of "David and Goliath" is that for the strong, "the same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness," whereas for the weak, "the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and beauty."

It’s about the advantages of disadvantages — and the disadvantages of seeming advantages. Or, as Gladwell puts it: “We have a definition in our heads of what an advantage is — and the definition isn’t right. And what happens as a result? It means that we make mistakes. It means that we misread battles between underdogs and giants. It means that we underestimate how much freedom there can be in what looks like a disadvantage.” 

It's an awesome book. Teachers and administrators should read it... especially for what it says about education. We have an idea in our heads of what an advantage looks like in education - and the definition may not be right. 

My favorite bit on education is the Inverted-U curve and how it relates to class size:

"Inverted-U curves have three parts, and each part follows a different logic. There's the left side, where doing more or having more makes things better. There's the flat middle, where doing more doesn't make much of a difference. And there's the right side, where doing more or having more makes things worse."

My favorite quote, and I have many, about education is:
"It is a strange thing, isn't it, to have an educational philosophy that thinks of the other students in the classroom with your child as competitors for the attention of the teacher and not allies in the adventure of learning."

And, finally... the part on the Impressionists of 1860's Paris will stick with me for quite some time: did Renoir, Manet, Cézanne, Monet, Pissarro, and Degas want to be little fish in a big pond, or big fish in a little pond of their own choosing?

"The inverted-U curve reminds us that there is a point at which money and resources stop making our lives better and start making them worse. The story of the Impressionists suggests a second, parallel problem. We strive for the best and attach great importance to getting into the finest institutions we can. But rarely do we stop and consider - as the Impressionists did - whether the most prestigious of institutions is always in our best interest."

You should read this book because Malcolm Gladwell is a magnificent story teller. Within the pages of David and Goliath, you will find ample food for thought on advantages vs disadvantages, on strength vs weakness, on our assumed perceptions, and on the innate beauty of an inverted-U curve.

Monday, October 7, 2013

do what you can do

I loved reading Delia Ephron's new book, Sister Mother Husband Dog. It is a bittersweet collection of essays. 

The first essay, Losing Nora, is brilliant.

Delia describes the disorientation felt when someone you love is seriously sick...
All the various specialists come in, doing their dance. There are many ramifications of this treatment, potential disasters galore. Glitches happen every day, and we have no idea what the glitch is, what it even could be. It's not as if there is a sniper in the woods and everyone keeps their eyes on the trees, searching for a man with a gun. No one knows where the hell they should be looking or what the hell they should be looking for until something starts beeping. Or maybe there will be no beep and we don't know to expect one.
I felt a pervasive sense of helplessness. Of danger. Of responsibility. And a pervasive sense of guilt and unreality. How could she be sick and not me? 

In the essay Bakeries, the bit about 'having it all' really stuck with me...
To me, having it all - if one wants to define it at all - is the magical time when what you want and what you have match up.

Having it all are moments in life when you suspend judgement. It's when I attain that elusive thing called peace of mind. 

You should read this book. It's humorous and poignant. Delia Ephron illuminates the human condition in a way that helps us feel less alone.

And as she says,
"Our job as writers is to figure out what we can do. Only do what you can do. It's a rule I live by." 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

create the conditions for invention

"Remember kids, the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down."
- Adam Savage, host of Mythbusters 

I  just read Invent To Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S Stager. It will inspire you to join the Maker movement. Children are natural tinkerers... and you know when you have a Super Tinkerer in your midst. 

All educators who believe that children should be given the opportunity to explore, learn, and discover should read this! This book is not an instruction manual on how to manage kids or a classroom, but how to bring out the greatness that kids already have to offer if they are allowed to explore their own interests and creativity. 

"Making is a way of bringing engineering to young learners. Such concrete experiences provide a meaningful context for understanding abstract science and math concepts. For older students, making combines disciplines in ways that enhance the learning process for diverse student populations and opens the doors to unforeseen career paths."

After reading Invent To Learn, you might even be inspired to create something yourself. Perhaps you can start by creating a maker culture in your own home and see where it leads.

Check out this inspiring blog post:
Start Something: The power of side projects.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

tooth and nail

“ Taking the…  vow to help others implies that instead of holding our own individual territory and defending it tooth and nail, we become open to the world that we are living in.  It means we are willing to take on greater responsibility, immense responsibility. In fact, it means taking a big chance.” Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

full quote here

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What does it mean to you to be an artist?

you have the privilege of dealing with your own feelings

I am privileged to have expression as my career

Saturday, September 21, 2013

be great

 Surround yourself with people who inspire you to be great!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

confront truth at its harshest, and hope at its most powerful

So, remember how, in my last post I talked about seeing Colorado State Senator, Mike Johnston speak at an Ed Sessions lunch?

Well, I neglected to include that while I was there I was one of the lucky winners of his book, In The Deep Hearts Core. I just finished it. It was amazing and should be read with a box of tissues.

Today, on Facebook, the Ed Sessions posted a link to Mike Johnston's speech in Idaho.

But, in reading more about his book, I found a speech he gave in 2012 at a Teach for America event.  It is beautifully constructed around 2 stories – the first one illustrating what is possible, and the second what is next.  His real themes are truth and hope.  

We need both truth and hope, and then we can accomplish great things.  

Mike Johnston (Mississippi Delta '97) - State Senator, Colorado from Teach For America Events on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

what will it cost if I don't

I was at a recent Ed Sessions lunch where the speaker was Colorado Senator Mike Johnston. I was instantly inspired by Senator Johnston's historic education reform efforts in the state of Colorado, Amendment 66. He spoke passionately about what it takes to get meaningful education reform accomplished. 

Education reform is no easy task. It's an uphill battle; one that has been two years in the making for Senator Johnston's amendment.

He ended his talk with a glimpse into what keeps him going; what inspires him. He says he keeps a copy of A Testament Of Hope on his desk (The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.).

He referenced Dr. King's last sermon in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 3, 1968, I See The Promised Land. Dr. King had been warned not to return to Memphis. He had sent his good friend Ralph Abernathy to speak for him as he wasn't feeling well. After Mr. Abernathy spoke, the crowd wouldn't leave. They continued to wait for Dr. King. Ralph had to call Dr. King to come down to the Church of God in Christ to appease the crowd.

Dr. King arrived and spoke to the crowd with no notes and no preparation. He spoke of his trip to Jerusalem and his travel along the road to Jericho.
And you know, its possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it's possible that they felt the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the Levite asked was, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed that question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"
To paraphrase Senator Mike Johnston's call to action...
That's the question before all of us. Not, "If I stop to help education reform, what will it cost me?" But, "If I don't stop to help education reform, what will it cost the children in my state." 

So, now on my desk is a copy of A Testament Of Hope.

And I am hoping that Dr. King will continue to inspire me to "ask better questions". 

Friday, September 13, 2013

make it meaningful

Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. 
The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.

-Dalai Lama

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

an impression

“Sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.”

- Dalai Lama

Friday, September 6, 2013

Greatest gift

I read this yesterday ...

"Yes, Mother. I can see that you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me." - Alice Walker

And it made me think of this quote from Neil Gaiman:
"The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you're walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That's the moment you may just be starting to get it right."

So, when two authors sneak into my brain and remind me that I should live and be and risk and stumble as only I can... I think I should.

And now go, and make interesting, amazing, glorious, fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

You don't pass or fail at being a person, dear.

I Love Neil Gaiman. 
His new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, made me love him even more.

When I finished this book, I had to turn around and read it again. I loved it that much... and I was that curious about what I had just read.

For me, Ocean is a very spiritual book. The three Hempstock women became a trinity of sorts for me. Without giving too much away, Lettie Hempstock pays the ultimate price without actually paying. The Ocean/Duck Pond was such a beautiful symbol. For me it was all knowledge - everything - and yet infinitely nothing.  You should really read this book.

If you love Neil Gaiman too, these are things that go without saying: Magic exists. The Universe is Magic. And it is true whether or not you and I can understand it. Magic doesn't need to explain itself. It's Magic. To those new to Mr. Gaiman, just accept that the world is not what it seems... and then begin reading. You'll be glad you did.

Be sure, once you are past chapter four, to listen to Neil Gaiman on SLATE Radio

Also, listen to Neil Gaiman and Ocean at the End of the Lane on NPR HERE.

This would be a great book to read together with your teenager, if you have one.

I have so many quotes from the book highlighted, but here are a few of my favorites:

It all came back and even as it came back I knew it would not be for long: all the things I remembered, sitting on the green bench beside the little pond that Lettie Hempstock had once convinced me was an ocean.

Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.

Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside. You don't. I don't. People are much more complicated than that. It's true of everybody.

Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren't. 

I'm going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.

You don't pass or fail at being a person, dear.