How do you decide what the right thing to do is, let alone teach children how to make those choices?
I read William Stafford’s (1914 – 1993) “Traveling Through the Dark” for the first time as an assignment in high school. Quietly emotional, it is the perfect poem to ignite discussion among bored students.
Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead…
…she was large in the belly.
My fingers touching her side brought me the reason–
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated….
Our class discussed with great fervor for the entire period which choice the author should have made. I still find this a moving, challenging poem. How many of your high school assignments can you say that about? My choice of what the right thing to do in this situation has changed with maturity. My inclination has not.