I read recently that students in the high school graduating class of 2016 or 2017 will be the first to have no personal memory of the events of 9/11. They will know only what they have read and been taught. Thus, what is written and what is said (both in and out of the classroom) can enormously influence the worldview of these impressionable young people, who will grow to lead us into an unknown future. What they read and hear could cause them to live life either cynically and in fear, or in hope. What they read and hear could cause them to see themselves as independent beings or as integral parts of an interconnected worldwide family and Mother Earth who sustains it. What they read and hear could mean an increase in suspicion and oppression of the ‘other’ or to a healthy curiosity and welcoming of the rich diversity offered to all of us, by each of us.
We are teachers accountable to our children and the future we are asking them to be part of. What are we saying to them and to each other? Do we speak words of mercy, compassion, love and inclusivity? Do we live what we speak? Are we willing to take a stand and call out the fear mongers among us, all the while recognizing even they are beloved children of God?
Kathy Flynn, OP