Has anyone ever comforted your sadness over a perceived “failure” by suggesting that “when one door closes another opens”? Did you know that this saying is an abbreviation of an aphorism from Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone? His complete proclamation is “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” This consolation is intended to incite courage for you to move on from disappointment knowing something even better than what was imagined may lie just beyond your scope. And this seems to have been just the case for Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney.
The January 4th episode of CBS News’ Sunday Morning featured a vignette about Jeff Kinney and his successful Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise. Interestingly enough, the author’s greatest passion is for cartooning rather than writing. Only through failed attempts at becoming a cartoonist, which Kinney describes as being “soul-crushing,” and through a transformation of his cartoons into a journal format, did Greg’s tales in Diary of a Wimpy Kid come to fruition. Another interesting aspect of Kinney’s story is that he originally began writing Diary of a Wimpy Kid as a book for adults, but Abrams editor Charlie Kochman insisted the story would be perfect for a younger audience.
Read the article and watch the brief news clip from CBS News’ Sunday Morning, then respond to the following questions:
1. Has there been a disappointing time in your life when you lost a dream or when a desire wasn’t reached? (Focus on a lost goal, vision, or aspiration rather than on a physical possession.) How did you face that disappointment? (Did you give up or persevere? Explain.)
2. Reflect upon a person you know of (personally or through study) who persevered through disappointment and found success, happiness, peace through an unexpected turn of events. Explain the challenges they overcame.
Isn’t it interesting that sometimes the universe has other plans for us, and something better is just around the corner? When you face obstacles, or when life gives you lemons, be willing to forge ahead and consider a different vision. If Kinney had not pursued his love of cartooning in a variety of forms and if he had been willing to let go of his passion, Diary of a Wimpy Kid would never have come to fruition.
And if you haven’t read any of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, you’re truly missing out. They are laugh-out-loud funny and are definitely relatable, worthy reads for anyone who is currently, or has ever been, in middle school. Check out the Diary of a Wimpy Kid website where you’ll find details for each of the books in the series, information about the author, games, videos and so much more!