The STJ curriculum committee should consider Tuesdays with Morrie as an addition to the 9th grade curriculum because it teaches good life lessons. One of the lessons it teaches is to persevere or to keep going when you fail. It also illustrates how we should have care and concern for others and how that concern fosters lasting friendships. Finally, it exhibits how Morrie’s mom love of education inspired him. The valuable insight learned from reading Tuesdays with Morrie will help propel incoming 9th graders toward maturity and development.
The non-fictional, biographical novel Tuesdays with Morrie written by Mitch Albom highlights many of his career failures. He describes his first job disappointment as “ No more playing music at half-empty night clubs. No more writing songs in my apartment, songs that no one would hear.” (Mitch Albom – Tuesdays With Morrie (Kindle Locations 112-113). Albom recognized his music aspiration was not his calling. He returned to college an earned a degree in journalism. Mitch “eventually took a job in Detroit as a columnist for the Detroit Free Press.” (Mitch Albom – Tuesdays With Morrie (Kindle Locations 117-118). This point emphasizes to incoming freshman that if at first you don’t succeed, then try again. The author’s theme of perseverance teaches 9th grade students to push through when life becomes difficult.
Morrie Schwartz, Mitch’s favorite professor and one of the main characters in this novel, teaches him that having concern for others is a quality needed to live a meaningful life. He goes on to teach him that building meaningful friendships will last a lifetime. “The other night, on TV, I saw people in Bosnia running across the street, getting fired upon, killed, innocent victims . . . and I just started to cry. I feel their anguish as if it were my own. I don’t know any of these people. But-how can I put this?-I’m almost . . . drawn to them.” (Mitch Albom – Tuesdays With Morrie (Kindle Locations 349-351). This is a valuable lesson because part of maturing as a young student is learning to care about what happens to others. Morrie learned to care for others from his mom. “Morrie was taught to love and to care.” (Mitch Albom – Tuesdays With Morrie (Kindle Locations 527-528). Caring for others can lead to quality friendships. Mitch’s initial visit with Morrie was out of obligation. He had promised to keep in touch with him. However, the visits grew into a sincere friendship that kept Mitch returning Tuesday after Tuesday. He looked forward to seeing his old friend. “I came back the next Tuesday. And for many Tuesdays that followed. I looked forward to these visits more than one would think, considering I was flying seven hundred miles to sit alongside a dying man. But I seemed to slip into a time warp when I visited Morrie, and I liked myself better when I was there.” (Mitch Albom – Tuesdays With Morrie (Kindle Locations 377-379). The first year of high-school will be the beginning of many new friendships. This novel demonstrates how friendships can be rekindled and how they can leave a lasting impression in our lives.
In addition to learning to have genuine concern for others, Morrie was also taught to learn. His step-mother insisted education was important. “Eva would accept nothing less than excellence in school, because she saw education as the only antidote to their poverty. She herself went to night school to improve her English. Morrie’s love for education was hatched in her arms.” (Mitch Albom – Tuesdays With Morrie (Kindle Locations 528-529). Morrie’s education helped him escape poverty that was almost certain had he not gone to college. Reading this novel will provide guidance to rising 9th graders who seek to fulfill an ambitious life. Had Morrie not attained his degree, he would not have had the opportunity to make such an impact in Mitch’s life. “It was only through default that the best professor I ever had became a teacher. “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” (Mitch Albom – Tuesdays With Morrie (Kindle Locations 543-544).
I strongly endorse Tuesdays with Morrie an an addition to the 9th grade curriculum. This novel demonstrates valuable experiences needed for maturity as rising 9th graders. It will teach them to stop at nothing until they succeed. It also will model how caring for others is a trait we all need. In the end, it will reveal how our lives can be permanently affected by relationships we build in our lifetime.
Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie. Detroit: Doubleday, 1997. Print