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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Canada (01/29/09)

TITLE: Planet Earth Academy
By Diana Dart


Fists often flew in this school yard. Harsh words were more commonplace than friendly ones as students were teased and harassed, or even occasionally defended. Each student was unique and struggled to discover and maintain their identity while growing up next to each other. Games were played and rivalries raged, all typical childlike behaviour. The Principalís authority was ever understood, but His physical presence seemed mostly forgotten out in the playground. Until He returned, the war seethed on.

Advantages and disadvantages in this conflict were difficult to predict. The most mature students were not necessarily the most powerful. Age did not beget clout or wisdom. Greece, for instance, had once shone in the arts and languages, but now held little influence despite his famous works adorning the schoolís halls. Glorious Rome had been sacked only to be revived as the less dominant Italy. Many others were ancient fixtures, yet still struggled among the crowd.

The size and stature of each student gave no clues as to their status either. Larger pupils like Brazil couldnít necessarily dominate pint-sized ones like Great Britain. Bullying was not born from the biggest, but from the ones with the most to lose. And charisma and influence could radiate from small packages as easy as large ones.

One such large student was often found at the fringes of the yard, never pushy or loud and habitually playing left wing to the star centres. Canada was sprawling, covering mountain ranges and vast prairies and extending to frozen artic islands. He was made up of great lakes and enormous bays, bordered by three oceans and contained six different time zones. If strength was dependant on size, Canada would most certainly be a front runner. But he was not. Was that his deliberate choice or an unfortunate reality?

Often Canada played the role of mediator, placing his physical bulk between battling students and attempting to smooth things over. He was also quick to defend the underdog and assist the victim. Actual military skills he did not lack, but the trait that sparked the flame was missing. The character of Canada contained very little aggression. Did this help or hinder him on the school yard? Would it place him squarely within the Principalís rules or well below the radar?

Canada gained the respect and affection of other pupils through his efforts to maintain peace. That trait was especially endearing to those without their own security and they warmed to Canadaís refuge. Oh, he wasnít perfect and had made many mistakes growing up. Stretching from newborn to toddler size had resulted in injuries to many of his natives and even as an older student he could not seem to satisfy the distinctive parts of himself. However, the underlying tone for Canada was always conciliatory. He was ever quick to make apologies and implement preventative measures. That tendency towards peacefulness made Canada a friend to most, or at least an enemy to very few. Was that an enviable position or just a forgotten one?

Many teachers at the school taught lessons about tolerance, urging the students to see past differences and embrace diversity. Love and acceptance were much touted, although much less practiced. Since it led inevitably to peace, Canada saw great value in the idea of tolerance and soon became very adept at it. He was much celebrated for his open-minded policies, congratulated and even emulated for his forbearance. However, a strange phenomenon stole into his character and quietly sank its claws in. His backbone seemed to soften. He found himself easily swayed, not by the threatening schoolyard bullies but by those who lobbied him unceasingly. The squeaky wheel got the oil, even if that meant the engine ran dry and seized. Compromises were made in his heart and actions were sanctioned that were far beyond the lines he had drawn. Was this the true name of peace - the untold reality of growth and progression?

If one is tolerant above all else, is it possible that he will become blind to things that are intolerable? Are some lines not better drawn?

Canada was not alone in his growing pains; his struggles for identity and boundaries were shared by many. Thankfully, the Principal had the running of the school firmly in hand, despite what the students thought. As each continued to develop and grow, He interacted in different ways with them, individually and as a body. He had much to teach them before school was out.

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This article has been read 699 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chrissi Dunn02/05/09
Wow - Great personification! This was a great perspective, and a fresh way to look at the political history of Canada, and indeed how it has been moulded by its great Creator.
Seema Bagai 02/05/09
A great piece. Clever and thoughtfully written.
Lynda Schultz 02/06/09
This is wonderful. You have portrayed the nation very well and with such creative style.
Sara Harricharan 02/11/09
Oooh, very clever. I liked this. You certainly tagged on personality to quite a bit of things here, I liked it. Made it sooo much more realistic to follow the different countries. ^_^ Nice.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge02/11/09
Very thought provoking...perfect title.
Catrina Bradley 02/11/09
Beyond creative. And SO interesting - I was totally engaged. Excellent writing that flows smoothly from thought to thought - and what thoughts! Loved this entry!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/12/09
You used excellent personification as analogy to describe the different countries of South America.
Joshua Janoski04/22/09
How very creative this is! I love how you made each country a person and described the personality traits of Canada. The more of your stuff I read, the more I remember how truly creative and unique your writing always is. I am a fan for sure.