A few years back I worked with a young teacher in a class of seven teenage boys diagnosed with Aspergers.
He was 28, filled with wanderlust and an insatiable desire to understand the world
and to give those struggling kids a way to navigate it.
He was insightful and funny and at times intense
and I am a better person for having him as a friend and a colleague.
Mr Jones always found ways to shake things up, to make those boys question what they were being taught instead of blindly believing everything ever written in the subscribed textbooks.
One term we spent weeks studying a video titled The Story of Stuff which looked at the connections between our production systems, patterns of consumption and waste, and called on us to recognise the impact on environmental and social issues and work towards a more sustainable and fair planet.
After weeks of discussions and essays and numerous meltdowns,
he turned the tables upside down and presented the boys with a website here
which refuted everything that they had just spent weeks dissecting and analysing.
We then studied these videos for the next few weeks questioning WHY it is we believe WHAT we believe;
is it the lab coat worn by the presenter, the big words they use, the subtitles flashed across the bottom of the screen with a string of letters trailing after the name of the speaker?
Of course this exercise caused consternation, confusion and anger in some of the students,
so much so that we even had to add in a video lesson which looked at the origins of the word "fuck", just so that one particular student could think about whether his angry, liberal use of it in just about every sentence was justified or in the correct context.
Having the principal walk in during this lesson was just one of the hilarious moments we all shared in that classroom.
I guess what I'm trying to say today apart from being ever grateful to have spent those years in that classroom with those gorgeous boys and a teacher named Daryl is that we all have the ability to look at things and decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong.
There are many out there who will try to decide for us (and I no longer watch mainstream news for this reason) but ultimately we get to shape our own perspective.
Isn't that a wondrous thing?
We get to decide what is true for us
We get to question and research and investigate
this beautiful world
and everything in it that is imperfectly perfect.
I am SO grateful for that capacity to question
and for the freedom to decide my truth
to make my mind up
and change it again
to see injustice and be able to participate in righting a wrong.
to celebrate diversity
and work towards understanding each other
and even loving each other.....
I leave you with a video today from Upworthy.com
“Mountains, according to the angle of view, the season, the time of day, the beholder's frame of mind, or any one thing, can effectively change their appearance. Thus, it is essential to recognize that we can never know more than one side, one small aspect of a mountain.”
― Haruki Murakami
― Haruki Murakami