Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Aberi Watoto?

I am reading a new book called Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. It is about a boy, Jeremy, who receives a mysterious package from his long dead father on his thirteenth birthday. In it is an intricately carved wooden box that has the words "the meaning of life" carved into it. The box is locked with an amazing set of locks and there is no key. Jeremy and his best friend, Lizzy, set out on adventure to find the keys to the box. Throughout the adventure they are forced to ask themselves some difficult questions about life, even to the point where Jeremy has an existential crisis. He continually asks, "Why am I here?"

Why am I here? I, like Jeremy, ask my self this question. It usually comes to mind at about 2:30 a.m. Why am I here? Why am I here? Why am I here? I always thought that I was here to teach and learn lessons. Not math lessons, but lessons on life. I also have felt that I am here to make a difference in someone's life. The question is how many is enough? I could always fall back on The Starfish story where the moral is: If you make a difference in one person's life then that is okay. But is it? I am sure that throughout my thirty years of teaching and my fifty three years of existence, I have made a difference in somebody's life, but is that enough. When will God say, "You've done well."? OR do I always strive for one more?

At my school I believe that most of the staff is looking to make a difference in the life ofone more child. But, some have become complacent. Complacency is the enemy of excellence. Like a river a complacent person will take the easy route. During team meetings we have team roles, and the staff decided to add a role this week. That role is the questioner. It is the questioner's job to ask, after every team decision, "Is this in the best interest of our students?" What a great idea and what a great question!

The Maasai in Kenya are a tribe of warriors. Young Maasai boys are sent out into the bush alone to make their first kill at the age of thirteen. When these fierce warriors meet they don't bump chests and ask, "What's happening?" or "Whaaaaaat's uuuuuuuup?" They ask,"Aberi watoto?" (How are the children?) They answer, "Watoto wazema." (All the children are well.)

Wouldn't it be great if any adults that had anything to do with the welfare of any child greeted each other with this question, "Aberi watoto?" Wouldn't it be even better, if we could all answer, "Watoto wazema."?

Why am I here? I am here to teach and learn lessons. I am here to make a difference in the lives of others, and there is no magic number. I will continue to do what I do until I can honestly say, "Watoto wazema!"

Paco's Perspective
You are also here to make sure I get my treats! "Aberi waPaco?"

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