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Jason Reynolds: Grab The Mic, December Edition

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This is a guest post by Jason Reynolds, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

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.


Comments (2)

  1. I love your newsletter, your books, and especially your rhymes and sign offs. I think this is such an important idea about rest for everyone and I thank you for sharing it, and walking the walk. I am a person who needs a lot of “beauty rest”–I get a lot of sleep. I’ve always been a little embarrassed about how much. I also like to look out my back window and drive in my car with no music playing on long trips! I think we all need quiet for our mind to recharge. I don’t mind eating vegetables, but rest tastes just as fine to me. I hope you are able to enjoy your rest during your break and stay safe.

  2. This is your best post ever, Jason Reynolds, (and they are all excellent.). Figuring out how to rest, to hit the pause button in our lives, has always been hard. During the past months of Covid chaos, most of us have had to hit the pause button on our activities, but our poor brains have been busier than ever, figuring out how to navigate this crazy world, assessing risks, worrying about our loved ones and the whole suffering world. Thank you for reminding us and then modeling for us the deep value of rest. You’re not alone. I’m also trying to choose rest, to pause and breathe. It’s hard for me too, and I’m older than you’ve ever been!

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