I have spent some time over the last week or so reflecting upon the time I spent in our nation's capital for the TGC Global Symposium. The magnitude of this blessing is settling in as I recognize what a gift this program is to my life and my teaching. Meeting all of the members of the cohort, discovering more information about the travel plans for this summer, bonding with the group of distinguished educators I am honored enough to be placed with for our trip to India -- It is all a bit overwhelming and humbling.
The groups traveling to Morocco and Senegal are leaving this week, Columbia soon thereafter, and during the first week of April. I thank the Good Lord that I have until summer to plan and get ready for my trip. There are so many things I want to prepare to take with me, such as photo albums, school year books, small gifts and trinkets to hand out to children I meet, and nicer gifts to give my host teacher and his or her colleagues. I also want my students to have the time and opportunity to write postcards and include pictures of themselves that I can give out to the Indian students. I am hoping we can develop a lasting, long distance relationship online so all can better understand the multiple perspectives of people living in other countries. Until we can develop true, lasting relationships of common respect, our world cannot change for the better. We need to really KNOW each other, to understand our differences and similarities in order to appreciate the gifts and talents we all bring to this world. One cannot accomplish that kind of intimate acceptance across a conference table. It must be done over dinners in homes, in discussions about life and fears and dreams. Our children must see people through eyes of empathy and compassion, not competition and fear.
There is so much I want to accomplish with this opportunity, but I also realize that whatever comes will be pure gift, whether MY plans are achieved or not. I will be open to the possibilities and will approach all with wonder and a sense of discovery, the same way I hope my students will approach life. I have thought long and hard about my "Guiding Question," the focus for my research while I'm away. I am so very passionate about story, individual story and how our family history informs and directs our personal life story. I wonder how different peoples and cultures pass on their family histories now and how, if at all, that has changed with the innovations of the Internet. How will we, this populous of text-speakers, emailers and Instagrammers, assure that the true meaning behind and within us is forever preserved for posterity. I think I know the answer to this, but: Do we need to worry about or even care what future relatives and peoples know or think about us?
So, this concept of story is rattling around in my mind as a possible focus.
I'll share some other ideas next time. Until then, be open to the miracles around you; they are happening every moment of every day, if only we take the time and effort to look for them.