I haven't written much about my graduate school career in this space. About all I can think to say is that it has been a painfully wonderful opportunity to take myself apart, examine all the pieces, and think long and hard about how I want to put myself back together.
As this semester comes to a close, I find myself unable to construct the words I need to articulate the space my brain has been in these past several months. So instead, here are some borrowed words that are warmly heavy on my heart and central to my season of personal and professional growth:
"A young Athabaskan Native American boy once looked at his teacher and asked, "When are we going to die?" The teacher to whom he addressed the question was surprised, but answered, "Well, none of us know when we are going to die, that is for a power beyond us to decide." The young boy looked away and said softly, "Well, if we don't know when we are going to die, then why do we have to go to school? Why can't we just be happy?" That Native Alaskan teacher later said to me with tears in her eyes, "Why can't we figure out ways to make that child happy in school?
Touched by those comments, I have carried around the question of that child and that teacher for many years. Why do we have such a hard time making school a happy place for poor children and children of color? A few years ago, I asked Oscar Kwageley, a friend, teacher, Yupik Eskimo scientist, and a wise man, what the purpose of education is. His response startled me and opened my eyes even more: he said, "The purpose of education is to learn to die satiated with life." That, I believe, is what we need to bring to our schools: experiences that are so full of the wonder of life, so full of connectedness, so embedded in the context of our communities, so brilliant in the insights that we develop and the analyses that we devise, that all of us, teachers and students alike, can learn to live lives that leave us truly satisfied."
[Lisa Delpit, "Hello Grandfather," Other People's Children]
Education friends, let talk more about how to make our work satiated with the fullness of life.
Friend friends, take a look around at the wonders of the world and press into the fullness of life that sits at each of our fingertips.
Taste and see.