“In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.” ― Czesław Miłosz
One of my favorite things to do at school is to interview new families. The family is all dressed up. The parents are ready to talk about their children, and the students are ready to see their new classrooms. This week, I was sitting in a new family interview and the parents were remarking how it was so exciting to be a part of a safe community. To which, if you know about our school’s love of all things Narnia, I replied, “Not safe, but good.” We chuckled, Mr. Beaver was honored, and we moved on. As I have reflected on it, I saw how true this statement really is. As classists, your students are being shown both the greatest and worst points in all of history. We get to examine the lives of men and women that have lived before us and learn from them. Sometimes we learn what to emulate and sometimes we learn the things we should never emulate. Occasionally, those things come from the same person’s life story.
In our sixth grade classes, students read Homer’s The Odyssey. This story begins as the Trojan War has ended. Odysseus and his men must now make their way home but there is a problem, several gods and goddesses do not want him to get there. (Plus, if he made it home right away we wouldn’t have such a great story.) In this text we hear of the journey of a man (or maybe more than a man?) trying to make his way back to his wife and home while suitors have invade the very property he longs to return to. Through this story we teach students that they can admire the loyalty and fortitude of Odysseus, while rejecting the pride, selfishness, and ability to lie. Although we want your students to be emotionally and physically safe, we want them to experience the life and trials of the men and women that have gone before us so that they can make wise decisions when hard times come for the glory of God and the good of those around them.
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