Over the years my girls have worked on numerous projects at school. So many late nights, tears, last minute scrambles to get the paper ready in time, frantic searches on the internet and in books, lost notes, printers that won’t work and me pulling my hair out while I try to find a thumb drive to put the project on so that we can go to the neighbor’s to have it printed, or the hole puncher, as was the case today.
It’s educational too. I learn a lot about the different issues my kids study, because without fail, I have to serve as the encyclopedia, the spell-checker, the design adviser and the time manager.
Tonight as Naomi was putting her finishing touches on her project on Gandhi (which she had a hard time remembering the name of. She came home claiming she was doing a project on Gandhi Di Lama one day, and the next day he had become Osama bin Gandhi. But we got the name down now: Mahatma Gandhi) this thought struck me:
Almost all the heroes my children learn about at school are heroes because of some conflict. Because of oppression and violence, of suffering and injustice. Elise did a book report on Martin Luther King Jr. Then there was Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. Gandhi. And now there is a project due on the Northern Ireland conflict. Even a book-report on the Lord of the Rings has the same theme.
Sad to look at world history, even up to today, and see that it is built on conflicts, on suffering and death of innocent people. Sad to see that it is men and women’s hunger for power that has caused it in most cases.
But it is uplifting too, because wherever injustice is happening, there is always somebody who defies evil and stand up for what is right. The ones who inspires hope and courage, who does what is right in the midst of wrongs. These have been the men and women my kids have chosen to learn about.
Naomi started her report on Gandhi (Di Lama) with these words: “I don’t just want to learn about Gandhi. I want to learn from him.” She finished the project by saying: “If I should describe Gandhi with one word, it would be the word Brave. Everything he did required courage. I did not just do this project to get a good grade. I did it so I could experience Gandhi’s life.” She also included a quote by him that said: “Our actions reveals our priorities.”
All I can say is this: May there be hoards of other heroes that have fought their Goliath like David did. We need to hear about those heroes, learn from them and get inspired. Our children need to spend time learning from them, like Naomi wanted to do. And, it turns out, the world needs them now more than ever.