Education is a highly complex process beginning with our first breath on earth. From that day forward, education becomes a life long journey with a thirst to learn about the wonders of our universe and the human condition. The symbiotic relationship between teacher<>student – teaching<>learning is fundamentally at the core of how humans discover and pursue humanness.
We never stop learning consciously and unconsciously. Learning provides opportunities to discover what was thought to be impossible, creates awareness, introduces new skills, provides experiences and sentiments never felt before leading to emotional intelligence, moral courage, introspection, personal growth and change.
Life-long-learning plays a significant role in all aspects of Diversity Literacy. Education allows for opportunities to understand our thought process in order to introspectively become aware of ourselves and others. But education alone does not guarantee civic responsibility nor the pursuit of the truth. That responsibility rests squarely on our shoulders on a daily basis as a life long journey.
Family, schooling and society are instrumental in establishing a social curriculum that shapes beliefs, attitudes, values and predispositions. That curriculum shapes our identity and how we view the identity of others.
To live as a life-long-learner by choice and design can enhance the quality of life, provide views of the world and its inhabitants that are not static, exclusive, and narrow but dynamic, inclusive and multi-dimensional. Learning is ever present, from first to last breath as an option to life-long-growth… life-long-change.
We tend to think of history as times, places, events and protagonists living in the past.
History can become somewhat cloudy as we move from generation to generation.
But in 2023, history is being, not only written, but starkly watched and heard 24/7, providing raw truths of what it means to live in a Democracy versus and Autocracy.
We did not write the past chapters of humankind. But regardless of our social-cultural-political affinities, each of us can contribute to the next chapter.
We have a choice in 2024, in the present, to impact the future.
What is the legacy that we as Americans want to leave behind – no longer held hostage by its past?
Schools to my immigrant uneducated parents were “Temples of Learning” and teachers were “Holy”.
The plan was simple – they would sacrifice and I would attend school.
Their past would not dictate my future.
But what they did not realize was that sometimes classrooms can imprison and oppress.
I was not learning but merely surviving – until she appeared . . .
Sometimes the best gifts come our way without a Hallmark reminder.
The unexpectedness makes it singularly exceptional.
Mother Earth is ever providing such gifts second by second.
All we have to do is remain awake, gaze and listen . . . and then love her with the same love she provides.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
~ Maya Angelou
So who were those Wizards and Sorcerers, known as teachers who took teaching and learning to an art form?
“If we embrace the promise of diversity, of creative conflict, and of “losing” in order to “win,” we still face one final fear – the fear that a live encounter with otherness will challenge or even compel us to change our lives.
Otherness taken seriously, always invites transformation, calling us not only to new facts and theories and values but also to new ways of living our lives – and that is, the most daunting threat of all.” Parker J. Palmer
So what do we see when we pass a homeless soul on the street?
What do we feel?
What words go through our mind, heart and spirit?
It’s only a passing instance, right? The sight quickly dissolves . . . or does it?
Why would it linger?