Brave Irene by William Steig

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According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of responsibility is 1) the quality or state of being in charge of someone or something, and 2) the quality of being dependable. This month, as everyone gets ready to leave the responsibilities of school life behind, and embark on some more carefree summer days, let us take a little time to think about what it means to have responsibility. It is not always easy. If one values responsibility, one probably also values love, courage and perseverance (Lower Lab’s value in April).

June’s Book of the Month is Brave Irene, written by William Steig, who also wrote Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (one of my favorite children’s books) and Shrek (well, everyone knows how popular Shrek is). Brave Irene, almost a fairy tale in nature, tells the story of a young girl, a dressmaker’s daughter. When her mother falls ill, Irene must travel through terrible winds and blizzard-like weather to deliver a ball gown to the duchess. Our heroine thinks of turning back several times as the winds and snow beat her down, but she is determined and follows through. She is brave and she understands responsibility. In the end, she is rewarded with admiration, gratitude and her mother’s pride.

Brave Irene gives us wonderful opportunity to discuss responsibility. Some good discussion may be yielded from the following:

  •   What would have happened if Irene was not brave? Can you think of another end to this story?
  •   Make a list of responsibilities as a student, as a son or daughter, as a brother or sister? How does your responsibility impact others?
  •   Can you think of a time when you were given responsibility? Did you like it or not like it? Why and how did you handle it?
  •   At what age should children have responsibility? Is it important? Why or why not?
  •   For older students, think about Winston Churchill’s quote, “The price of greatness is responsibility. What does this mean to you?

    Successful people have the ability to take on responsibility. Got responsibility? SGM 2017