I saw The Wizard of Oz for the first time when I was about 3 years old. The movie had a powerful impact on me. I was mesmerized by it. I loved the singing, adventure, and friendships. So many scenes captivated me. I remember being very upset when Dorothy was trapped in the witch’s castle and the hour glass was almost empty. I was crying from fear she was going to die. I also cried, a time after this, when I watched The Cowboys and John Wayne was killed. I thought he was really dead. It was a relief to learn we don’t really kill people in movies; they’re just acting. So many things about The Wizard of Oz impacted my life, including the overarching theme: there’s no place like home.
One of my favorite stories to share with my history students in class has always been that of the Prussian ruler, Frederick the Great. Frederick ruled in the 1700s. He didn’t have a good relationship with his father. I like to tell this story because a lot of teenagers can relate to difficult times in their relationships with their own fathers. It also helps me connect with them the fact that they cannot blame their behavior on their past. Regardless of the circumstances in which they were raised, or of any event they may have experienced, the decision is theirs, and theirs alone, how they behave. They are 100% responsible for their actions. End. Of. Story.