Stages of Grief

Found in my internet wanderings, a selection of letters from grade school aged kids expressing their anxiety, grief, and eventual acceptance of the fact that Pluto is no longer classified as a planet. They have been compiled together as part of a new book, The Pluto Files.

The kids are rather adamant and articulate about the whole Pluto situation.

And they go through the seven stages of grief:

Shock and Denial – Will says, “You are missing planet Pluto. Please make a model of it.” Then follows up with an illustration in case the scientists don’t remember what it looks like.

Bargaining – John took a poll of eleven people, all of whom thought Pluto is a planet. “I had a half day off from school yesterday so my mom brought me to the Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium. I wanted to see you so I could tell you this in person.”

Guilt – Madeline works the guilt aspect well….”What do you call Pluto if its not a planet anymore? If you make it a planet again all the science books will be right…Some people like Pluto.”

Anger – Emerson says, “I do not like your answer!!! Pluto is my favorite planet!!! You are going to have to take all of the books away and change them.”

Depression – Taylor is starting to feel the loss. “We’re sorry about giving you mean letters saying we love Pluto but not you.”

Acceptance – Finally, Siddiq brings it all together. “I know how you feel…we just have to get over it – that’s science.”

See images of the letters here.

By the by, our Fair New Mexico has already passed legislation recognizing Pluto’s full planet status. Where I come from, we do “do” lesser galactic structures. Planet or nuthin’ baybee! Mr. Clyde Tombaugh, a kind gentle man (yes, I once met him) would be pleased.

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  • Anonymous

    You obviously know nothing of grief (maybe not even Pluto)

  • Karen Fayeth

    Anonymous – what a perplexing and rather mean sounding comment.

    Ah well. To each their own.

    Thanks for chiming in on the discussion.

  • Lucky

    When I read about my adopted state actually passing legislation that recognized Pluto as a planet, I laughed and laughed. I am a big fan of Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who is the astrophysicist director guy at the Planetarium, and has taken a lot of flack for demoting Pluto (he's generally been good natured about it). I knew Pluto was no longer a planet, but I just love that NM is being so stubborn about it. I decided, however, it would be in my best interest not to teach the planets in class this year. I wouldn't know what to say. I suppose as an agent of the state, I should stick with the party line, but I wouldn't want to send our kids out into the big world to say something that wold make them seem like idiots.

  • Karen Fayeth

    Lucky – yeah, well, denial, not just a river in Egypt. So many things our state denies…like, you know, pot holes, general infrastructure, etc.

    I laughed too when I read that NM wouldn't be swayed. But NM doesn't come close to the absurd legislation that places like Berkeley and San Fran pass, so it's all good. :)

    I also think a lot of Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and got a kick out of all the nasty letters he received from children. I'm sure that was, at times, tough to take. I want to pick up that book, The Pluto Files.

    By the by, in case I haven't mentioned it, thank you for being a teacher. I saw a teacher grading papers at dinner this evening (she was seated one table over). She had that "gotta grade gotta grade" look.

    Major props for continuing to teach in the midst of massive budget cuts in the schools (been reading those articles closely).

  • L

    I need to do one of these posts soon! Maybe I should re-build my readership first!
    You are a great blogger, could have fooled me too, I was sure you were a professional writer.
    Don't let silly anon comments bother you. Some people enjoy hiding behind a cloak on the internet and find that it gives them courage to say all manner of rude/bitter things.

  • Karen Fayeth

    L – aw, now, you went and made me blush!

    Thanks for the compliment, it's a big one!!

    Thanks also for slogging through the post. It tends to run a little long when I'm talking about my favorite topic! :)

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