DISCLAIMER: This post is dedicated to a classroom of students that I read for during my VIP (volunteer hours) at a local elementary school today. The lesson I learned from Mrs. Arable is a priceless lesson for students to learn to become open-minded and understanding about things they do not know. It’s imperative for today’s generation to understand subjects/experiences beyond their current knowledge. I prompted them to learn, ask questions, and have a related experience with the unknown subject. Thus, I introduced much needed critical thinking skills for students to elaborate within their own open-ended class discussions.
Do you remember one of the most cherished children’s stories of all time? E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web captures adult and children’s hearts alike to create a moral lesson for readers to discover about open-mindedness and possibility. Specifically, the minor character of Mrs. Arable, explains the misconceptions behind circumstances, people, or things we do not understand. Instead of accepting the possibilities that animals can talk and speak with her daughter, Fern, Mrs. Arable is ignorant of the possibility behind her daughter’s own reality.
She instead prompts the impossibility of Charlotte (the spider) being able to spin creative webs that spell out a word. In addition, she’s a worrywart that believes her daughter is being negatively impacted by her time at Zukerman’s farm. She finds it difficult to wrap her mind around the possibility of miraculous things that she has not experienced as an adult. Instead, she consults Dr. Dorian for insight over her daughter’s well-being. The doctor givers her the need to be open-minded and understand the anything can be possible. Especially that the potential for miraculous and amazing things to happen is everywhere around us.
Another powerful proclamation that the doctor mentioned was that we should instead try to understand how things can have the potential to do what they can. For instance, the mere fact that spiders can create thread from their bodies is another miracle that the doctor tries to elaborate to Mrs. Arable. Although, she tries to redirect the possibility of a spider having the talent to read, the doctor ponders over ability for the spider to create a web in the first place. The ability to use a common talent of a spider to create words, is just the byproduct of an already miraculous ability.
Furthermore, the doctor helps Mrs. Arable to see the bigger picture and to try to keep things in faith. If nothing outwardly is affecting her daughter, then the best objective is to believe and support her. This is essential between child and parent relationships to establish trust and to maintain effective communication to strengthen family bonds.
So, what do we do when we cannot understand something? Do we lie around and make bias conclusions over our limited and ignorant experiences?
NO. We do these three steps to become more competent, compassionate, and intelligent human beings.
1.) WE LEARN. Do research, read, and listen to those who’ve dealt with similar experiences.
2.) WE ASK QUESTIONS. We try to ask the right questions to understand another viewpoint or experience. We try to use our curiosity to refine what we have learned.
3.) WE EXPERIENCE. We try something new. We go to a different place, try a new food, or meet new people to better understand their position. We communicate and socialize. We expand past our own little bubble.