Early in the morning and things got interesting in advisory this week. At the beginning of the year we made a decision to incorporate a global issues day into our weekly advisory plan. This was exciting for me from the start as it would give me an opportunity to further pursue ideas and concepts that don't necessarily fit into my math curriculum. Global Issues Day was introduced as an alternative to current events. As an advisory team we felt that current events often led the boys to bring up topics that had to do with sports and other local news that was hard to move beyond the surface with. I was hopeful that Global Issues Day would allow us to take current events to the next level as we expanded on issues, celebrations and news.
Examples of Global Issue Topics?
- 9/11 Memorial
- International Day of Peace
- The Government Shut Down
- Children's Favorite Possessions Around the World
- The History and Cultural Rituals of Halloween
- Celebrating Diwali
- Beginning talks and relationship building with Zim Kids.
So what did we do this week? We made the whole week Global in the Garage. A visit from Zimkids Dennis and Tinashe and a celebration of Diwali. So what's this whole ZimKids thing? Let me share.
At the end of last year, I was introduced to Dennis Gaboury through Ric at school. At the time, a lot was going on and I knew that in my heart if I tried to force a relationship or program that it would be a disaster. I needed to work on something that was more intentional and therefore I had to ask for forgiveness with the promise that next year would work out better. And so we moved forward this fall. As I stated to my parents:
"Learning about ZimKids has allowed the boys to get a small glimpse of what life is like in Zimbabwe. We introduced the program to the boys by sharing this video and looking at Zimbabwe compared to the US before matching the boys up with "Buddies" who we learned about through online profiles. The boys have spent some time writing up their own biographies which will be shared with the boys in Zimbabwe too. When Dennis and Tinashe return to Zimbabwe the plan is for our boys to connect by sending short emails and do a skype call together. The partnership was created so the boys can learn about a different culture, work on various styles of communication and sharing skills, and work towards becoming more global citizens."
Dennis and Tinashe joined us on Monday and Tuesday morning during advisory to share more about ZimKids, their own lives, and about the interests and personalities of the buddies. The boys listened intently to stories about life in Zimbabwe as they warmed up to our visitors. It was intense, but then again so is life in Zimbabwe. The boys then asked questions about their buddies, learning about how much they like school, or how they like to rap and dance like elephants etc... Despite the different cultures and upbringings the boys began to truly realize, kids are still kids. The boys inquired how they could help and some even bought the dolls that traveled from ZimKids and were made by our buddies. So many elements of this brief time with Dennis and Tinashe will stay with me. I look forward to our next "meeting".
While it was hard to transition from ZimKids, I couldn't pass up a celebration of Diwali given that it is an important holiday for some of our community members. Global Education and Diversity/Community Inclusion go hand in hand and so on Wednesday we planned a Diwali morning meeting. In order to do a proper celebration and lesson on Diwali, I decided to contact one of the families to help with the history and traditions. So what did our morning meeting look like?
Greeting: Have the boys greet each other using the word Namaste. The word Namaste means “Salutations to you” and is used to greet and say goodbye. In India and Nepal a non contact form of greeting is preferred and therefore it is often used with a slight bow and hands pressed together (prayer position.)
Share: Read the story of Diwali .
Activity: Share what else we know about Diwali.
- Light many candles or diwas all over a clean house to welcome the goddess laxmi into your home.
- Playing Cards or gambling is done during Diwali because if two reasons. Because goddess Parvati played cards with Lord Shiva on Diwali and because people believe they will win because the goddess Laxmi is visiting and we are sure to win because the goddess Laxmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
- Gifts are also given during this time of the year.
- Bhai dooj or Bhai beej is also significant. It's when lord Yama, lord of the dead, visited his sister. It is said that when a sister welcomes her brother into her home in this day and puts a Tilak, a red dot, on his head she vows to protect her brother from evil and lord Yama has vowed not to let harm fall on them.
- The day between Diwali day and Bhai dhuj, we bend and touch our elders feet asking for their well wishes for the coming year.
Conclusion: As suggested by the family, the boys bowed to me with their hands together and I put my hand on their heads wishing them long life and happy new year.
Oh and let's not forget the sweets. While we didn't have access to Indian sweets, we did have Halloween Candy so we celebrated with that. Diwali, our festival without much light (fire hazard), was pretty fun.