Discuss the relationship between behaviors and consequences.

Inquiry: Share the photograph on page ninety-six of The 8 O'Clock Bell, and read My Best Friend to the class.

Discussion items:

1. Why did the writer of the poem go behind the school with his friend?

He thought his friend was cool, so he wanted to be with him.

2. What soon became a problem?

His friend wanted him to do something that he felt extremely uncomfortable about, and even scared him.

3. We can walk away from anything we really want to, so why do you think the author said that he was glad he "somehow" found the nerve to walk away?

We have to remember, this was his very best friend!  Isn't it extra difficult to turn down something that a best friend asks you to do?!

4. How do you think the author felt when he did walk away?

I can tell you from experience - (remember, all of my poems are based upon things that really happened to me) that the author was very relieved.  I wrote the word "glad" didn't I?  And I was glad that I walked away that day.  

5. How do you think the author and his friend were able to "carry on" as friends after such an experience behind the school?

Perhaps the author made sure that they only got together in situations where they would be with other people that the author felt very comfortable with - like adults or a group of friends who would not repeat the same behavior that had caused the problem the first time.

6. According to the true story of this poem, what really is an effective way to avoid getting too involved in a situation that looks bad?

Turn, and walk away!

Additional thoughts from the author: Each and every time I share this poem, I obviously think of the friend who it is all about.  On that day, I remember wondering if he would still like me if I didn't go along with what he wanted to do, but the answer came to me fast: "If he's really glad to have me as a friend, then he'll get over me not doing it... and if he doesn't get over it, then there are a lot of other people I can find to do other things with."  As it turned out, he never asked me to do such a thing again, and after awhile, we were playing together again.  From then on, I had a new sense of command over my own actions, and if he decided to do things that I didn't think were right for me, I found other things to do and other places to be.  At that point, I knew that the only person I had to think about controlling - was myself.