This weeks book club reading and discussion really hit home.
So Much Potential
A central theme in this part of the book is the potential for so much more than what people actually achieve. Duke says, "Too many of them end up pushing a broom around some factory at night when they should have been running a business or practicing some profession (99). Even though being in America is like have a box of tools, so many people don't know how to use them. Kids don't know how to get their life together. They don't have the skills, so they resort to crimes (Lonnie G), hope the good comes their way, or pretend like nothing bad could happen to them (Tariq). They may not have the same background or advantages, but they are faced with the same choices as everyone else. They can take advantage of an opportunity that comes their way, as Peter did, or make the easiest choice that comes their way.
It can be so difficult to get this point across. I have watched people make the wrong decision or the easy decision over and over again, and it can be so frustrating to communicate why they are making a bad decision for themselves. This book is so great for young people because it shows this from a personal and anecdotal perspective. It understands and acknowledges the other side, but still shows why things could have been done differently. Ultimately, we "are either going to make the choice, or be a victim (140)."
Seeing the disadvantage in the lack of example or seemingly lack of choice many kids face is one of the factors that drives me to become a teacher. One day, I want to be able to reach out to my students and show them that they have so much potential. They can be successful if they work toward a goal in life and try to make good choices.
Jimmy- I love Jimmy as a character because he grows, thinks, and is introspective.
Jimmy's mom- I'm really growing to like Jimmy's mom. You can tell she really loves her son and wants what's best for him. She seems like such a sweet character and reminds me a bit of my mom. She doesn't understand everything and just tries to get through life, but she works hard.
Kevin- Well... I have officially decided I hate Kevin. I decided this when Jimmy mentions his smirk on p136. He seems so self righteous in his own actions, and goes around thinking he is better than everyone else, including Jimmy.