Some early subscribers know I received my B.A. in Anthropology as a non-trad. It is hard to believe 20 years ago this May, I walked across the SUNY Potsdam quad in the beating down sun to accept that degree.
If you look back in the archives at some of these posts from nearly ten years ago, you will find many references to my Anthro geekiness. Today, I want to stroll down memory lane to revisit one of the first papers I wrote as an Anthro student in Cultural Anthropology with Dr. Stebbins.
We had read Coming of Age in New Jersey (or, in my case, skimmed it - because I never read any of my textbooks. The fact that I don't learn from reading is a discussion for another day.) As I remember, the class discussion centered on the distinct lack of an authentic, meaningful coming-of-age ritual - in this culture. The assignment was to create one and write about it.
I decided it would be exceedingly beneficial for all young people to spend significant time (live) with an elder in their family (or an elder who played a major role in their lives). My paper centered on - the dynamic mutually beneficial mentoring relationship between the young person and their elder. To put it simply, they would learn invaluable lessons - garnering wisdom from each other. This thesis came from my childhood experiences of spending nearly every weekend with my beloved grandmother, who shaped my life in immeasurable ways. (Unimportant side note: As I recall - I got an "A" on the paper and the class.)
Why this memory - now?
Over the past two weekends, I have had the enormous privilege of spending time with an important elder, in my life. I have been here not just as a caregiver and helper - but as someone, she trusts to share her life.
I am happy to coexist in her world - her doing her things and me doing mine - connecting - occasionally with a quick glance or a few words. I love to watch (make) her giggle over some bits of silliness that we both appreciate. She has spent her entire life nurturing others, and, as we told her, it is our time to do the same for her.
I stand by my thesis of over twenty years ago. If you have the opportunity to spend extended time with an elder - do it. (This is especially true for young people.) You will learn things about them and yourself that you never understood before. It comes with the added bonus of being changed and enriched beyond measure.
Weekly Creative Meditation
This particular DRC-True Story requires a backstory. On Thursday, E proudly brought in a "million dollar bill." He was convinced it was real. He told us it was his grandma's from a long time ago. Several kids tried to explain to him that it was fake and there was no such thing as a million-dollar bill. No matter what they said, he vehemently provided another reason it was real.
Then V looked it up and read aloud to the group that million-dollar bills were never printed by the US treasury. E said he didn't believe the internet. At that point, someone said, "so you don't believe the truth." E said he did not. And that is when V responded with no outward expression - "how very American of him."
Yes - most of these kiddos are very aware of current events and the world around them.
E, however, was oblivious to the reference and happily tucked his "million-dollar bill" back into his wallet with his $3 for skate rentals and continued about his day. Those who got it may have laughed a bit too hard at the absurdity of it all.
These kiddos keep us in stitches - all day - every day.
And finally - here are the photo galleries from this past week:
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