Like Montessori elementary teachers worldwide, I start the school year with creation stories. I have favorites: Phan Ku, Wulbari, Odin, Vili, and Ve..., but each year I select ten fresh stories to share with my students. The last story that I tell each year is always the creation story told by scientists, also known as The Big Bang. Not knowing complete truth concerning creation, I don't dispense answers. My goal is to draw the child's attention to the universal nature of the question: How did I get here?
How did I get here? What is my purpose? and Where am I going? These are three aspects to the question: Who am I? Just as all humans share the same fundamental needs for food and shelter, we also seek answers to the same cosmic questions. Our answers, however, in the form of cosmogonies, differ enough to cause tension between cultures, even war. At our heart we are brothers and sisters. In practice we burn churches and Quorans, force religious conversion, and commit genocide.
Last week was a tense one at my work place. Everybody is asking: How can we save this school? There are three aspects to this question: Where did we come from? What is our purpose? and Where are we going? As of Wednesday, our answers differed enough to cause raw feelings, and entrenched factions. Our head of school quit. People whispered in small groups. Tomorrow we will try to answer the question together, hopefully from one heart. Each of us wants the school to survive.