An Open Letter to My Tribe

by Josée

For those of you that are unaware, our Learning Circle, a group that meets twice a week to provide group learning opportunities for home learning families, has made the decision to start a Learning Centre this coming fall. The Learning Centre will be a space for home learning children to gather and be mentored by teachers, parents and other people in the community a couple times a week. Our Learning Circle will still continue. This is my open letter to my tribe about this wave of change we are riding.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the Learning Centre. Who in our community hasn’t? For many of us it’s a big change, and change can carry with it a whole host of emotions: fear, excitement, anxiety, sadness, frustration, anticipation, resistance… [insert your own here]. What makes change even more difficult is that this change is happening to our tribe. We are not only looking at how change impacts ourselves or even our family but also how we will be affecting a group of families each with their own needs, values and visions.

When a tribe moves towards change, visions collide and merge. Some hold on, others push forward. There is angst. It is painful and beautiful. The whole process reminds me of an infant learning to walk. It is a natural part of growth that an infant will desire to walk and one day run but he starts by taking his tentative first steps. There is a lot of falling, crying and persistence. His parents and siblings will act as a guide holding his hand and urging him on and when that little person eventually walks on his own everyone shares in his jubilation.

There is a great deal of diversity in our tribe. We could look at our differences, and there are many, and they could easily divide us, but we wouldn’t be a tribe if we didn’t share some common visions in the first place. When I step back I see a beautiful thread binding us together and that is our desire for community. Our tribe values intimacy, not in the sexual sense but in the sense of togetherness, of being real and open with each other. Relationships are not assets or objects to be discarded at whim, but they are what helps us be more fully alive.

Our tribe also shares in the common vision of caring for the planet. At a time when there is so much destruction of the earth our tribe works to protect and safeguard father Creation. There are families in our community that cultivate the land and give back to the community by providing organic produce. Others have smaller urban farms and raise chicken and plant gardens. Our tribe is connected to the earth. There have been thoughts about an eco-school but I’m not sure if they fully capture everyone’s vision in the tribe, we want more.

Of course we wouldn’t be the same tribe without our children, each one unique, each one a blessing. There is a desire in our community to protect this special time for our children, to allow them to explore, create and imagine in a safe environment. Each family has their own unique reasons for choosing to home learn, but I believe that in our hearts there is wellspring of desire for our children to embrace the true, good and beautiful.

Community, nature, children and learning, these are some of threads that I see weaving us together. So how do we take these threads and weave them into a beautiful tapestry that will guide and inspire us in the years to come? I cannot come up with the answer alone, I need my tribe… because we are awesome.

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