Sunday, December 9, 2007

Chapter 10 ~ Cause and Effect

Photo by
Brendon Stuart

I woke at 4 a.m. again today and considered the academic term “sequence of events.” In high school, we teach students to pay attention to the sequence of events in literature, to make sure they fully understand what came first and what came next. One graphic organizer pictures the sequence of events like this,

implying that one event leads inevitably to another. If I filled in the boxes for Eddy’s insanity story, it might look something like this:

But of course, that isn’t the way things happen in real life. If Eddy filled in the boxes, a different sequence would appear. That’s because many events, dozens, perhaps even hundreds, intermingle to affect the flow of an individual life. And while it may seem that we are on a straight course headed in one direction, the reality is that, at any moment, multiple directions are possible. Sometimes people change course based on a major event that happened only yesterday, like leaving a beloved child at a mental hospital, and sometimes they change course based on a seemingly inconsequential incident many years previous, like a random comment made by a stranger at the beach. Perhaps a more realistic graphic organizer for life events would look like this:

But then the word “sequence” would have to be replaced, and my students would complain about having to fill in so many little boxes.

Read the next chapter HERE, or buy a paperback copy of Count All This HERE.

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