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Jason Reynolds: Grab The Mic, December Edition

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This will be a short newsletter.

One thing I don’t recall ever being told by any adult in my life when I was a kid, was to rest. Other than the forced nap time in nursery school and kindergarten, rest always just seemed like something I crashed into after expending every ounce of energy. It was the thing that happened when the sugar wore off. But there was never a moment when someone sat me down and explained why rest is important. And because it was never taught to me in the same way the importance of vegetables and kindness were, here I stand older than I’ve ever been with absolutely no clue how to do it.

But I’m going to learn. And to start, I’m taking a month off from writing this newsletter. So there won’t be one in January because I’ll be … resting.

What I’d love is for some of you to try it with me, this resting thing. Maybe once a day, turn off your phones and computers, close the books I know you’re reading and just sit still. Let’s all try to do it for five minutes a day. Just let your mind and body do nothing for a moment. I’m, of course, going for the gold and going to try to do this for a few hours each day, but knowing all of you are shutting down for five minutes will make me feel less anxious, like we’re all in this thing together. A communal rest, stretching across cities and states. It’s a beautiful thing to imagine, all of us who are normally connected by movement and activity, by voice and touch, by computers and cell phones, now connected through calm.

Because we can be. Because we have to be. Because now that I’m older than I’ve ever been, I realize giving your mind and body a moment of ease is just as important — as healthy — as vegetables. As important as kindness. Or maybe the most important kindness — the kindness of self.

And if an adult has never told you this, if you’ve never known that the brain needs breathing time to continue to do brain stuff, or the body needs moments to heal itself from your constantly bumping it into everything around you, if you’ve never thought of resting as an important choice for you to make, well, that’s what you’ve got me for. I’m pretty much your restie bestie. Yep … that’s my new title: Jason Reynolds, the Inaugural National Restie Bestie, here to encourage you to learn to calm your own fire so you don’t burn up everything around you or burn out everything inside you.

This is what love sounds like.

Until February, Happy Holidays and rest easy.


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Comments (8)

  1. You are a beautiful soul, Jason. Rest!

  2. Sounds similar to whole brain teaching where brain breaks are important for the full absorbtion of new information and for it to be processed. Maybe rests should be thought of as ways to process what needs processing.

  3. I love this idea of communal rest.

  4. Every day I have some reason to think about the huge contribution the Library of Congress makes to my life. In the beginning, I turned to the LOC because it stores and protects precious Wright brothers documents, journals, photographs, and letters and allows ordinary people like me to see these materials and even hold them. I was allowed to hold Orville Wright’s flight log; it was one of the most spectacular events of my life. Today, I’m grateful to the LOC for posting the Jason Reynolds’ blog. I love reading his words, and I enjoy hearing him speak. Enjoy your rest, Jason. Thank you for encouraging all of us to turn down the volume and enjoy the quiet–if even for only 5 minutes a day (until we learn how to rest longer).

  5. Enjoy your rest, Jason. I hope to do the same.

  6. I wish you can do a visual presentation for Catonsville Middle School in Catonsville Maryland. I read your books (Ghost and Lu). Also, the students and staff at our school love you books. In addition, I am a adviser of an all male group called, “Boys to Men” they read you book as well.(Ghost) I am teaching visually and want to know could you do a visual reading with students and families at Our school. We are not rich but we can pay. I am an African American teacher who have been teaching for 25 years. I would like to speak at my school before I retire.

  7. Connected through calm. What a lovely idea. Enjoy!

  8. Very much a thought I’m keeping deep to live upon . Thank you Sir .

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