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Jewish World Review Feb. 17, 2000 / 11 Adar I, 5760

Bob Greene

Bob Greene
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Consumer Reports



What would you like to stay exactly the same? -- IF YOU'RE FEELING the need for something to brighten up this February day -- a gift, as it were -- you've come to the right place.

What follows are the results of one of the nicest ideas I've heard this year.

With all the talk about how the world will change in the new millennium -- the technological advances, the dizzying alterations in daily life -- it seems that the emphasis has been on how important it is for us to hurry into some completely new world. Newspapers and magazines have been full of experts, outdoing each other to try to predict how radically we will change, and how quickly.

But at the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Hoffman Estates, the PTA decided to go the other way. The PTA asked the children in grades kindergarten through 6 to think about what they would like to stay the same as it is.

"What do you like about being a kid right now?" the PTA asked the children. "Change is great, but sometimes it is nice to have things stay the same. If you could choose something in your life, or the world, to stay exactly the way it is today, what would it be?"

And the children of Thomas Jefferson Elementary wrote their answers.

Here's your gift -- here are some of the things that the children think are just fine:

- "I want the trees to be the same because I like the colors they have. I like the color of the sky because it's blue and I want it to be the same. I like the way the grass looks because it's green."

- "My dad taking me to the YMCA. I love that!"

- "I like to play football with my friends. I hope that never changes."

- "I hope that when I grow up my kids get to have summers off school just like now. I love to go to the pool and swim with my friends."

- "One of my favorite things to do is to play hockey in our garage. We pretend it is a real stadium and my dad even plays too. This is the best part of all. Maybe I will be able to play hockey in the garage with my kids when I grow up. I HOPE!"

- "Mornings are sometimes cool."

- "I hope that I will continue to make friends and keep friendships like I have in the past. As we become more and more dependent on technology such as computers, I am afraid that we will have less need of people and more need of machines. I enjoy my friends and playing with them and I would not want this to change."

- "I want three things to stay the same -- my piano teacher, my allowance and my mom's car. I want my piano teacher to stay the same because she teaches me well. I want my allowance to stay the same because every time I do a chore I get a dollar -- I can't force my dad to give me two dollars, that's too much for one chore. I want my mom's car to stay the same because I love the way the fabric in the car is so soft. I also like in the summer when the window opens and a breeze comes in the car."

- "Days in school are just seven hours, and I hope they stay that way!"

- "Going to Grandpa's farm on a beautiful sunny day. I love the smell of the prairie. I love to see the pink and purple sunsets. The soft chirping of the crickets goes on all night. I like fishing with Grandpa because I catch lots of fish. It's quiet in the country. You can see for miles and miles, and it makes me feel like I could soar like an eagle."

- "To visit the zoo, and sing `yahoo' while baking yummy treats and smelling tasty treats, and riding your bike on a summer day."

- "Board games."

- "You can just sit down and have a plum." - "Each birthday have a party with friends."

- "Recess should stay the same as time changes. Even teachers need a break."

- "The thing I would keep the same is my parents. I want my parents to stay the same because they do fun stuff with me, they know what's right and wrong, and they are nice to me. The right things they tell me are don't swear at people, don't hurt anyone, and be honest with people. They're nice to me."

I just thought of something -- of a man who, early this morning, would almost certainly be reading this column aloud into a microphone at his radio station, and how his voice would carry these words all over the Midwest, to people who would hear the children's wishes, and who would stop, and think, and later on tell their own friends and families.

But he's not going to be reading these words into his microphone today. He'll never read one of these columns aloud again. The words will have to find their own way. Not much I can do about that. But I think I'll continue the children's wishes tomorrow.

JWR contributor Bob Greene is a novelist and columnist. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


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