Updated: Sep 5
Yesterday, I attended a most delightful talent show…one that showcased not just some unbelievable talent but also community spirit, organisational skills and great bonhomie.
Behind every performance, be it singing, instrumental, dance, drama, choir or elocution, stood parents, teachers and community members, nudging, training, encouraging, supporting the participant.
It was a stage from which I drew from and on which I grew, over 25 years ago.
When the chief guest…a stalwart Jesuit educationist, was invited to speak at the end of the evening, he made a statement that has been playing on my mind ever since.
Paraphrasing his words…
In this time when hate abounds, are we looking beyond our little bubble...our communities, to see the reality of how it affects so many around us? What are we doing to counter this hate? How can we use our talents to so?
As an educator, I find that I need to start by looking within myself.
What are my feelings?
My biases and intolerances?
I have many and sometimes they are hard to confront.
Reading opens my mind. Quite often uncomfortably so.
Am I ready to face this discomfort?
Only when we look at ourselves, keep an open mind and listen to different points of view are we ready to take this to the children we work with.
While we need to raise questions, we also need to accept the replies that we may not necessarily agree with.
To respect the little voices and their precious points of view.
My question for myself and YOU this Teacher'sDay is the same…
“How can you use your talents to counter hate?”
Do I look at the books I recommend here, deeply for prejudices and misinformation?
How do I open out my sessions for the children to express themselves freely?
Do offer them the space to question?
Am I open enough to accept my mistakes when they are pointed out to me?
Do I encourage #dialogue and follow the children’s lead as we talk books or discuss stories?
Do I encourage thinking that goes against the grain…even against my own.
Even the smallest step in this direction is a small step towards raising children who are thinkers, who are critical, who question fearlessly, who challenge the opinions around them.
I’m using my talent with stories and books to try just this.
Would love to hear from you about your ideas to counter hate.