We had an amazing start to the week. They were the kind of days that I dreamed I’d have when I decided to homeschool. Days of flexibility, passion, exposure to a big world, empowerment…
We started off with the last session with Murray, a friend of my father’s. Murray is a former science teacher, has a PhD in science education, and is a rock hound of renown. He’s been working us through the formation of the rocks in Manitoba, and has samples of rocks from every period we discussed. Pre-Cambrian fossil? Yeah, we touched that. On the last day he dumped out two tackle boxes of fossils from the Cretaceous and challenged us to sort them. We started with big obvious differences like spiral shells vs bivalves, and went from there.
In the afternoon we were able to change our plans, and would have moved heaven and earth to do so, because we got to have a soccer session with Desiree Scott. Yes, that Desiree. The Destroyer. The amazing midfielder who won bronze with Canada’s women team in London.
Yesterday was We Day and…whoa. Big. Bigger. Best. It was incredibly well done. The pacing, the production, the variety, the combination of information and inspiration, all of it.
We Day is a little difficult to put into words. It’s a concert that’s a conference that’s a dance party that’s a catalyst for change. The idea is to give young people the faith that they can change the world and the tools to do it. The day is intense, and it’s good that they keep things moving. Short and snappy presentations are good, because some of the subject matter is intense. Knowing that they were going to keep things going really reassured me at the very least. Now, I’m a known suck, and will tear up at the drop of a hat, but events like this can be heart-breaking. I trusted them, though. We’d watched it live streaming last fall and knew we wanted to be part of it this year.
The big name speaker was Gorbachev.
Seriously, it broke my brain a little. Gorbachev. I kept thinking of my 10-year-old self, of the images of the UUSR I grew up with. And there, breathing the same air as me, was the face of the Cold War for my generation.
100,000 nuclear missiles in the world in the 80s
I can’t put it all down. Water and food security. Respect for Aboriginals. Masai warriors. World peace. Little actions. Big ideas.
The presentation on bullying was so powerful. A young woman came on stage and told the story of how she was bullied, but still consented to go for a walk with the popular girls when they invited her, even though she knew what they were like, even though she was on crutches. When she told how they walked into the forest with her and then broke her crutches, the auditorium went silent. When they darkened the entire place and her voice floated through the blackness to tell us that she is also blind, you could feel the power in the room.
She’s the ambassador for the We Are Silent campaign. I really like that they’ve rolled out this idea of campaigns. Several months of the year have a campaign attached to them. They have amazing teacher resources for them, by the way. But last year Sandra and I felt like everything only made sense if you were in a school or knew a lot of people. This year, the campaigns seem like they’ll be easy for us to implement, too. Right now, the kids are trick or treating for canned goods in the We Scare Hunger campaign, and in November, we’ll be participating in the We Create Change drive. Before the Canadian penny disappears forever in February, it will have a chance to do something mighty. They have special (reinforced) bags that, when full of pennies, will give someone access to clean water for life.