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November 16, 2013

Teenhood Today: We can take message of 'The Wizard of Oz' to heart

By Miriam Thurber
The Daily Star

---- — As I’m writing this, I’m about to get ready for opening night of our school’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” By the time you read this, the play will have been over for about two weeks. So it will be ancient history. But for the time being, it’s a pretty big part of my life. I am, or was, Dorothy.

It’s obvious I love acting, as I’ve been doing it ever since I was little. When I was really young, I used to gather together my cousins and put on plays. At about 4 years old I was forcing my baby brother to dance around and sing the songs from “The Sound of Music.” But, unfortunately, being in a show isn’t just getting on stage and showing off your “impressive” dance skills while singing your own interpretation of Broadway show tunes. You also have to memorize lines. 

One line that I had the hardest time committing to memory was the one that, as was pointed out quite frequently, is crocheted on multiple pillows all over the world. It was (and I type from memory, you should all be proud): “Well, I … I think that it … that it isn’t enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em. And it’s that … if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard, because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with. Is that right?” 

It’s actually a fabulous quote. It really isn’t enough to just want to have something. You get absolutely nothing for wishing. Results only come when you take action. Sitting back and hoping life hands you something beautiful doesn’t usually end in wonderful things. You have to act on your wishes to make them happen.

The second part of the quote is about having all along what you long for most. You don’t have to look farther than your backyard. The contents of my backyard, however, consist of a tree, a garden and some annoying woodchucks, which I’m fairly certain do not make up my heart’s desires. So, I guess it’s not actually literal. It has more to do with finding the things you want inside of you. Which brings me back to the beginning portion of the quote. To make the world the way you want it and find your heart’s desire you need to make that change. Be the change you want to see in the world. Look inside of you.

The hardest battles are the ones we don’t fight. Sometimes if we stand up for what we want or believe in, we will find that we’ve just won our heart’s desire. Sometimes standing up for something is all it takes to prove to yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to. That usually leads to discovering what you really truly want.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen “The Wizard of Oz,” but memorizing the lines made me realize that there are some important things to learn from it. Sometimes we learn the best lessons from the things we see every day.

Miriam A. Thurber is a junior at Unatego Central School. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at