Something Special In The Mail

Today I'm sending birthday wishes to my older brother Tim. Though every time he turns older, that means in six months I will, too, I'm still celebrating with him from afar on his special day. And I'm going to guess that he wishes he were in Dallas at the Packer game with Joshua today ... go Pack go ... and Happy Birthday, Tim!

I'm also thinking about the phrase 
not good, not bad, just different 
that I learned back in the early 90s at a training that I attended. It's probably because of this special surprise by a mother-son duo that I got in the mail this week. Knowing that we have the same taste in books, Pat from 
Children's Books Heal sent me this treasure for my shelves. 
Thank you, Pat!

Brilliantly illustrated by cartoonist Jules Feiffer, Jacob's Eye Patch by Beth Kobliner Shaw and Jacob Shaw tells the story about a young boy who really is okay wearing an eye patch and usually doesn't mind sharing his story. Until he's in a hurry, that is. When he's got his eye on a special something and everyone slows him down by stopping to inquire about the patch, Jacob gets mad and throws his patch down in frustration. How will he resolve being okay with his differences and the potential conflicts that can arise from people's curiosity about it?

Wearing an eye patch is neither good, nor bad, it's just different.
The benefits from it, of course, can be very good.
But sometimes the cost is higher than we want to pay.
Jacob's finding that out as he goes through his patching years.
Our son Jacob had a similar eye issue, though we were able to correct it with early intervention and eye exercises which he totally disliked doing. But the benefit of not having to wear the patch outweighed the cost of time and energy to strengthen the weak eye through exercises. 

Use this story as a springboard for a cost-benefit analysis discussion. Every time we make a decision, we have to consider the cost against the benefit. What might happen if our Jacob had decided not to do those exercises? What might happen if the Jacob in the story had decided not to put the eye patch back on after he threw it down? What if he decided not to wear it at all?

In the end, Jacob meets a friend with braces. Our most recent struggle is the rubber bands that are indicated to go with the braces. Joshua wore them faithfully at first, but as time has gone on, he's gotten more and more lax about that discipline. What might the consequence of his choice to not wear them be? 
Ask students for other examples; they'll have them!

Then ask them what it means to them when they hear
not good, not bad, just different.
Discuss the benefits of using it as a touchstone
for accepting and celebrating differences.

Oh, and check out these other Jules Feiffer books in my collection:

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