Thursday’s Meaning of Life

On Thursdays I have three classes at a Gymnasium. When I got there today I had what I thought was kind of a lame, last minute lesson plan. But it worked. Pretty well, actually.
I started off by getting them to write a sentence – I said a minimum of one sentence and a maximum of five, because if you just say ‘write one sentence’ half of them will manage to do less than that, which one or two students managed any way. The subject was ‘What is the meaning of life?’
The key to an exercise like this, of course, is to make them sit separately, or at least do it without looking at anybody else’s paper, or they’d all just write the same, exact, damned thing and then your left with 40 minutes of class and no idea what to talk about.
One student checked his phone right away and posed the question, and got the answer ‘a movie.’ He is a lazy sod, and obsessed with his phone, but that led to a pretty good discussion of movies. One student seemed to really think I need to see a movie called ‘Rounders,’ so maybe I’ll check that out.
One took a very small piece of paper and wrote in green ink in concentric circles that the purpose of life is to be totally in tune with nature and to ‘evolve perfection.’ I’d had no idea. Usually he just sits and draws in class and doesn’t say a damned thing.
Quite a few people said there was no meaning to life but that led to some good discussions about, well, the meaning of life.
A few people mentioned children. In one class, that let to a discussion about whether or not they would want to choose the gender of their child, in the future. Because you know it’s going to be possible soon.
It was a fun day. Almost all of them did manage to write at least one coherent sentence, and a couple of them started right in to write a novel.
Maybe they’re not all as dumb as they look.


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