Friday, February 22, 2008

Book 37: The freedom Writers Diary

Title: The Freedom Writers Diary --
their story. their words.
How a Teacher and 150 Teens used Writing
to Change themselves and the World around them

Who wrote it:
The freedome Writers with Erin Gruwell

Whom I borrowed it from:
Queens Library (Long Island City)

What is it about:
A compilation of anonymous diary entries from
the teacher, Erin Gruwell (Ms. G), and her 150 students
from Wilson High School @ Long Beach, CA --
where they battle against racial discrimination,
sexual / drug / alcohol abuse, gun violence,
gangs problems......
while rising above the poor environment /
peer influence through education, writing,
and tremendous courage to live out their dreams:
Preach the message of Tolerance.

What went through my mind:
- I cannot think of ANYONE that won't
be deeply touched by this book,
or i should say, the lives of these 150 souls
laid bare before us.

They face a tremendous amount of adversities,
with little to no support in life,
while most are told they're good for nothing...
Yet in a classroom, where 1 teacher believes in
their potentials, their hearts soar,
daring to dream BIG, set out to conquer
whatever challenges may come their ways.

I cannot recall how many times tears swell up
as i read about these teens' struggles,
disappointments, times of weakness,
haunting memories from the past,
painful childhood...

Sometimes, my heart whispered...
"I've been through the exact same thing..."
While other times i hear,
"I've been so blessed all my life
and I didn't even realize it..."

I strongly recommend everyone that is in
some sort of teaching position to read this book,
and be inspired by her dedication & love!

- An epiphany of mine:
The Freedom Writers wish to tell the world
about TOLERANCE -- zero discrimination
& no more violence, gangs, wars...
Meanwhile, I think God's message is higher
than mere tolerance.

God's goal is ACCEPTANCE --
It's great if we don't blatently hate / fight each other,
hence tolerating each other;
but isn't it even better...
and eventually LOVING (Agape) one another?

- As you can probably tell... i love this book -- A LOT!
This is the most moving book I've read
since The Kite Runner & Tokyo Tower : )

Favorite Quotes (Beware: A super long list):
- "'s human nature to always believe that
"bad things happen to other people, not us
." (Pg. xiv)

- "...if we all... choose to deal with inhumane
situations in a humane way, we can turn the world
around and create positive lessons for
ourselves and others
." (Pg. xvii)

- "...if your passion is deep enough,
you can do anything
." (Pg. 27)

- "Fights don't solve matters,
they just make things worse
." (Pg. 39)

- "Don't let the actions of a few
determine the way you feel about
an entire group
." (Pg. 48)

- "...excuses will not bring about success
amd that adversity is not something
you walk with, but something you leap over.
The only obstavles are the ones you allow
." (Pg. 120)

- "I don't know why women allow men
to brainwash them and use their bodies
as objects instead of cherishing them
as if they were treasures. But it's never
going to change until women start
respecting themselves more
." (Pg. 125)

- "Freedom Writers have a dream!" (Pg. 165)
[In reference to Martin Luther King's speech:
I have a dream.]

- "You'll never be anything else but you,
so be the best you, you can be.
" (Pg. 174)

- "If you're not for it then you're against it...
Would you rock the boat and speak out,
or would you remind silent
...?" (Pg. 185)

- "I realized that I had overcome
too many obstacles in my life
to just give up and die.
I had too much to live for
." (Pg. 196)

- " is more important than material things.
Material things can't love you like a father can
(Pg. 224)

- "..."To improve is to change,
to be perfect is to change often."
I am far from perfection,
but I'm changing
." (Pg. 240)

- " amazing, precious, and powerful
both time and life can be.
In one second, you can be on top
and have everything going your way.
The next second, everything goes wrong
and you find yourself at the bottom
." (Pg. 250)

- "I have learned that it doesn't matter
if your inspiration in life comes from
negative or positive events.
The most important thing is
to learn and go on
." (Pg. 264)

What came out of this:
* Reminder:
No more labelling / discrimination /
judging a book by its cover!
Tolerance is a big step to take,
while Acceptance/Agape is the Ultimate Way.

* Lesson Learned:
Good teacher = Devoted Heart!

* Goal: I want to watch this movie, too! : )

Why Should you read it, too?
- If you teach / work with youth /
have struggles in life / have a past that haunts you /
want to learn about human nature /
need encouragements......

AIYA! Just go read it!
There's something in this book for everyone : )

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