Recently, I watched Thumbsucker, a brilliant film by Mike Mills. This story focuses on a teenage boy who is struggling to stop sucking his thumb in times of stress. Based on a novel of the same name, by Walter Kirn, the tale isn’t neatly wrapped up in a conclusion. On the contrary, the message I derived from the film and the novel is that in order to cope with much of life’s stress, we have to learn to let go and live without conclusions.

As the various characters in this film show, this can be a struggle for people of every age. As much as adults, including teachers, may want to help children and teens find ways to cope with their problems, we have to accept that we may not have the answer. Sometimes it seems, just sending the message that you want to help and are willing to accept a person, problems and all, can be more important than offering a neat solution.


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