I played with the idea this morning in my Morning Pages post (pictured to the left) of doing something creative. What I am going to share below is reallyafter the fact because I’ve already written it in my second novel, even though my first novel is not yet published. The second novel will deal with education in a much deeper way than the first, but as you may have surmised from many of my posts, I feel strongly about the topic.
I recount one episode below of a boy named Joseph Lafarnge. I share the passage because it presents the sort of educational experience that could be the norm, but without a vision of what could be, no possibilities exist. Here is my vision. (By the way, in terms of practicality, a group of schools around America right now are providing an education very much aligned with my views: the Big Picture Schools.)
Eric and Anne Lafarnge (rhymes with orange) are Joseph’s parents, and they live in Cornwall, England. They have developed an educational consulting business with friends, the main one being Alaun (pronounced Allen). Without further explanation, here is the scene from The Fellowship of the Heart and the Rock Dais.
Young Joseph was beaming, enthusiastically recounting his morning of education.
“Mom, Dad, it was so awesome. We watched butterflies emerging from the cocoons. Do you know that their wings are perfectly — symmetrical — yes, that’s the word, right? Yes, that’s it. And Mr. Arthur told me to watch for other things that are symmetrical and write them down. I see some leaves on these plants look symmetrical, but they are not mirror images like the butterfly wings.”
“Wow! That’s great, Joseph!” Alaun’s enthusiasm could not be contained. He loved the joy and simplicity of discovery that children showed. This pure passion of life that children display when learning had inspired his curriculum, especially when he saw that such fervor could be had by people of any age, if they were seeking to walk in their own truth.
“Yes, Grandpa Alaun! But there’s even more. That mirror image idea is called isomers when it’s in chemistry. The little things we can’t really see, those things called molecules, some of them have mirror images, and those are isomers.”
Eric looked genuinely shocked. “Joey, what did you say? You know about isomers?”
“Yeah, Dad, it was hard for me to understand until Mr. Arthur helped me with these.” He started pulling some colorful cardboard pieces out of his backpack, which he always seemed to have with him.
“Yes, look at these triangles. We measured and made them exactly the same size, but when you turn one over, it won’t go through the hole that we cut in the cardboard. These triangles are called scalene because that’s the kind where no sides are equal. But see, this one won’t go through the hole when you turn it over. I had to be very careful with the art knife when we measured and cut all of this.”
When he turned the triangle over, it was intricately colored. Joey then pulled a black cardboard tube from his backpack and inserted the triangles in slits in the side. “See! It’s my butterfly. I am supposed to study some real ones and try to make mine have all the right parts. They are insects, so I have to make sure that mine has six legs.”
Edward was holding Joey’s partly constructed butterfly, examining the art work on the wings. Kathryn laughed at Joey’s enthusiasm. “Hey, Joey, can you tell me more about isomers in chemistry?”
“Well, Aunt Kathryn, the whole reason Mr. Arthur told me about them is I asked what butterflies ate. He told me leaves, and I asked why we can’t eat leaves because we eat other green stuff. And lettuce is like a leaf. He told me that some molecules, those little things we can’t see that everything is made of, only fit into our bodies in a certain way. Some leaves have molecules that are isomers that are like mirror images just like the butterfly wings. So some leaves fit through the molecule holes that we have and some don’t. Butterflies have the right kind of hole for regular old leaf molecules to fit through.”
They all shook their heads as they laughed softly. They had grown accustomed to Joey’s unbridled joy in learning.
“Mom, is it okay if I go and meet Cynthia and Robby? We want to go find butterflies to study, but we won’t hurt them. We will take close up pictures of them.”
“Yes, Joey, have fun.”
I ended with that line on purpose. Yes, learning, true learning, true education, is FUN!
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!