We had the (absolute) pleasure of having Museum Rob, from the South Grey Museum, join us at school on Friday. We are just finishing a unit on governance (and government) and our students love the opportunity to get Rob’s input on how things were in the past. Last month he brought us a 100 year old chunk of beef tallow for our food preservation unit – this month he shared stories of governance gone by.
Museum Rob is quickly becoming part of our Headwaters community. His classes are becoming more ‘give and take’ all the time as he and the students learn to get the best out of each other. When he was done his formal presentation our students were sharing about the governance structure they’d put in place in the forest world they’re building in the cedar forest that lines our playing field. In that forest they’ve cleared trails by hand, built various structures, and even have the institutions necessary to a community.
Initially their community was built like ours. Property lines separated various buildings. As per our community, this meant that some properties were more desirable and some less desirable. This, inevitably, brought angst among our students. A small disagreement ensued. The solution the children came up with was profound. As explained to Museum Rob:
“We took down the property fences and made it everyone’s property. We used the sticks from the fence and created a new house we could all share.”
If we can take a moment and back up from the ‘socialism’ word that might pop in to our adult heads can we can instead see what the children might teach us if we’re willing to learn.
This isn’t a matter of my property becoming yours or yours becoming mine. Rather, that fence represented entrenchment. Entrenchment of opinion; entrenchment of how to be and how the community would work. The entrenchment (the fence) was removed not by a Prime Minister or other government – it was moved by the citizens themselves. The fence was moved by citizens who let go of predispositions, listened to each other, understood each other, and acted together, without demonstration or desire to consolidate power, so that tomorrow would be a better day.