This week we finished watching Edward Scissorhands. I remembered watching this film, or parts of this film, in the early 90's, which seems ancient to most of you, I know. My twin sister and I had twin neighbors who were boys, Andy and Allen. What are the odds of having two sets of twins on one street? We actually had three sets, which has to rival the odds of winning the powerball. Andy and Allen loved the movie and tried to get me and my sister to watch it constantly. We were more interested in watching Short Circuit. I know I am dating myself here, but my point is nearly 25 years ago, I was watching bits and pieces of a film I had no idea I would later be teaching. If I had known it, I would have paid more attention back then. It's funny the things you cannot know until much later in life. Along with the memory of the bits and pieces of the film, I can also recall we had another neighbor, Scott, who thought he was the oddball of the bunch because he did not have a twin. Poor guy. He had no idea he was actually the normal one. This reminds me a little of Edward and how he thinks he is so abnormal, simply because he does not look like everyone else. The reality is his uniqueness is what sets him apart, makes him great.
After watching this film now as an adult, I see so much of what I missed as a child. This story isn't merely a film about a man with scissors for hands. It's about appearances being deceiving. The townspeople in this fictional suburbia seem like they have it all figured out: perfect lives, perfect lawns, perfect...lies. On the flip side, Edward seems to be the one who is messed up, alienated, a loner, and yet, he is the one with an unmistakable purity and innocence. As a classroom teacher, I see this all-too often. There are students who think they don't fit in, don't belong, simply because they look different from the status quo. If you find yourself among this number, I want to encourage you to not be deceived like my friend Scott was. It could be that you are the only normal one among all the odd ones.
The Friday before the Thanksgiving break was low in attendance. There were a ton of students on a field trips that day, and many had Thanksgiving plans. For the faithful remnant who stayed behind, I asked you all an important question. Should Edward have come down from the mountain at all? Yes, he fell in love with Kim and enjoyed the simple things we all take for granted, but he was also judged and hurt and ended up fleeing back to his mountain estranged from civilization again. A few of you said, no, he should have never come down because he ended up being injured.
However, the overwhelming majority of you said yes, he should have come down from the mountain. Despite the hurt and pain, he learned what it was to feel, and that is never something a person should regret. Each of you will be confronted with challenges that will scare you this year. Maybe it is trying out for a sport, attempting a difficult course, asking someone out on a date for the first time. Like Edward, you have a choice. You can play it safe and stay alone on the mountain, or you can put yourself out there and run the risk of getting hurt. I would give you advice, but I think you all said it best. Whether you get hurt or not, you always have something to learn and ways to grow if you take the risk. From experience, I can tell you life is too short to live with regret over the things you wish you had done but were too scared to try. Here's to hoping each of you will take on a new challenge in the upcoming year.
Coming Down from the Mountain,