If you’ve read “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank, you will recognize the statement above that was shared multiple times in her writings. As I continue on with my autobiography readings, I decided to reread Anne Frank’s diary. It’s been many years since I first read it and reading it during our current situation of being stuck at home gave me a new perspective. It helped me gain an increased appreciation and empathy for the enormous struggle she endured during her years of hiding in the annex and a sense of amazement at how bravely she faced her situation. Here are some themes that stood out to me from her writings.
Paper has more patience than people: That phrase really stuck with me and I thought about how therapeutic and beneficial writing and journaling can be (especially when there is no other outlet for your thoughts and emotions). In Anne’s case, it allowed her to express her true feelings, her dreams, her fears and her hopes and also save them for posterity as she hoped they would be. In my daily life, I have found benefits from keeping a gratitude journal as well as my weekly blog posts. They help me reflect on my beliefs, my mistakes, and my hopes for the future. It’s a great way for educators and all people to express themselves and organize their thoughts in a safe environment.
Keep learning: Throughout her time in hiding, Anne and her entire family continued to learn and study. They had new books smuggled in on a regular basis and even did correspondence classes. From learning shorthand to history lessons, algebra and learning new languages, they kept their brains active with new learning. I was truly amazed at this as I now have two teenagers doing distance learning and the struggle is real trying to keep them engaged in schoolwork when they don’t see the point of it. Anne was truly an example of what we should all aspire to be: Learners who continually want to grow and develop. Even in an uncertain situation, she knew she wanted to be the best she could be and learn all she could.
Optimism: Anne battled with sadness, fear, and loneliness while hiding and often realized the reality that they may be captured and killed at any time. Yet, during her darkest hours she continued to be an optimist. It’s not that she didn’t feel dark emotions, it’s that she was able to see past them and continue to keep hope alive. She sometimes referred to their time in the annex as a big adventure and purposely framed things in a positive light as demonstrated by her statements of “Where there’s life there’s hope” and “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart“. She knew the ugliness of the world, but chose to focus on the beauty. That is true courage to me. The ability to see evil, yet focus our attention on the good.
Focus on the present: Perhaps my biggest take away from reading Anne’s diary was her ability to focus on the present moment. She often writes about happy memories from her past before her years of hiding. However, she is not stuck in the past. She also writes about her hopes and dreams for after the war is over. Yet, she doesn’t dedicate her mind and thoughts to what could be. Instead, she stays active in the current moment and does what she can in the here and now. She reads, she learns, she loves, she fights, she laughs, she cries, she lives! She finds joy from the past and hope in the future, but she doesn’t let them interfere with living in the present. May we all do the same.
Maybe it’s because I’m older or perhaps from the current situation and having teenage daughters of my own, but reading the diary of Anne Frank this time was much more emotional for me. As sad as her story was, I take comfort in the fact that her words remain to share her wisdom and her message to all those who will hear.
“I must uphold my ideals for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.” – Anne Frank
“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” – Anne Frank
“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lies haven’t even happened yet.” – Anne Frank
- Week of June 1: Building open for staff 8:00-5:30 PM Monday – Friday
- Tuesday, June 2: Incoming Kindergarten Family Zooms 10:00, 11:00 & 1:00
- Thursday, June 4: No Staff Meeting
- Week of June 8: Building open for staff 8:00-5:30 PM Monday – Friday
- Monday, June 8: Curbside Pick Up / First Grade 9-10:30, Fourth Grade 10:30-12:00
- Tuesday, June 9: Curbside Pick Up / Kindergarten 12:00-1:30, Second Grade 1:30-3:00 PM
- Wednesday, June 10: Curbside Pick Up / Third Grade 9-10:30, Make Ups 10:30-12
- Thursday, June 11: Final Staff Meeting 1:15 PM
- Week of June 15: Building Open for staff (optional) 8:00-5:30 PM Monday – Friday
- Monday, June 15: Report Cards due at midnight, Building Open 8:00 – 2:00 PM