‘Wonder’ | Mark’s Remarks - Republic-Times | News

‘Wonder’ | Mark’s Remarks

By on November 29, 2017 at 8:00 am

My daughter and I saw the movie “Wonder” the other night and I highly recommend it.

This movie is a heartwarmer without being too sappy or mawkish. It’s about a boy born with a birth defect that caused facial deformities and about how he goes through life teaching people through the way he conducts himself.

It also spends a good deal of time talking about perspectives.

When the boy goes to school for the first time, he encounters a great teacher who has “precepts” for his students each day. One of the most memorable is by Dr. Wayne Dyer, and whether you agree with him or not, his quote is pretty good: 

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”

I walked into my classroom this morning and there was the quote, hanging on my bulletin board. I get a free calendar from the school book order each year. You might guess that a free calendar from a book club will feature authors and books, which it does.  

November happens to be the month that “Wonder” is up. There it was, that very quote, hanging on my wall. Right next to a picture of the book cover.

I told my students about the movie and how I kept thinking, as I watched, how my own students would have treated the boy in the movie. There seemed to be quite a bit of bullying in the movie. Even though the director made it look believable, I still had a hard time accepting that kids would be that cruel.

I told my students about it and said I thought they would have accepted the boy much easier and treated him well. I also told them if they were acting cruel to one another, it must be behind my back. This is how older folks start to get naïve, I suppose.  

That was probably the only part of the movie that seemed a tad far-fetched to me.

“Choose kind.” One of the kids in the movie started explaining the precept and I thought he did a great job. Now, mind you, he was going along with a script, but it certainly sounded like a student would explain it. He said something about never knowing a situation fully. He talked about how we can never really know what a person has gone through or the type of day they have had.  

He told his classmates that no matter what, kindness is always a better choice.

I thought about it all day and it made me think of how stinkin’ sensitive I am. It made me think of how many times I have bent over backward to get my point across and be right about something. I thought about arguments I’d been in and how good it felt to win. There have been times I’ve been so offended when someone was rude, when someone didn’t wave when I let them in front of me in the car or didn’t return my “hello” in the hallway. I’ve had plenty of discussions with Michelle and my friends about someone hurting my feelings or the feelings of someone close to me. 

There have been long seasons of my life where I thought everyone was out to get me.  Yep, being that sensitive and constantly getting offended because I thought some comment was directed at me. Well, that’s all pretty self-centered isn’t it?  It’s all about me.

Not many times have I stopped to think about circumstances or where people were coming from. Where they may have been. Not many times have I chosen to shake something off and “consider the source,” as they constantly tell me.  Nope, it’s always about me and how I feel. Capital “I”.  Bold faced and underlined. 

It’s sort of corny to say a movie has that much impact, but I’d like to think that this particular precept from that movie will be something I carry with me from here on out. At least, I hope.

Choose kind.

Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.